FLYING ANTS INSIDE?
Finding flying ants inside of your home is a problem, but finding them inside during the winter is even more of a problem. Why? Because ants only fly or have wings when they are getting ready to breed. If you are noticing flying ants inside of your home during the winter, then you most likely have ants living within the structure of your home and there may even be a carpenter ant nest. So, naturally, we need to get them out of your house and make certain to prevent any infestations. Let’s first talk about how to tell the difference between these Carpenter Ants and Termites, as sometimes they are confused. Then we can talk about behavior that you may notice, signs of infestation, and how to prevent them.
CARPENTER ANTS VS. TERMITES
As we said before, Carpenter Ants and Termites are commonly confused. Carpenter Ants are one of the largest of ant species, but there are also Carpenter Ants that are very small. Don’t make your determination based on size. Some characteristics of Carpenter Ants are darker color to their bodies, narrow waist, bent antennae, and hind wings that are shorter than the front wings. Carpenter ants are also typically more observable than Termites are. We know that they are both very destructive. Another difference in the two is that Carpenter Ants nest in wood but they do not eat it. Termites on the other hand, eat the wood as they tunnel through it. You may also see a difference in the frass of Termites compared to Carpenter Ants.
When you see wings, even if you can’t tell whether it is a Carpenter Ant or a Termite, that means that the insect is a reproductive male or a queen. These are the only members of an ant colony that can breed. Ants and Termites alike swarm to mate. Afterwards, the male dies and the queens drop their wings and find a nest to rest in. So seeing a winged ant inside during warmer months may just be because it made its way inside and will likely die, since it doesn’t have access to its nest. However, if you are finding this critter inside during the cold months, it’s safe to assume that scenario we discussed earlier, and get your structure checked for a potential nest. It’s also good to keep in mind that Termites don’t typically swarm in the winter, but can if they find warm areas to do so. So remember, swarming ants or termites in the colder months is an indication of and indoor infestation.
The first step in replacing or ridding yourself of any infestation of Carpenter (flying) Ants is to replace any rotted wood, repair areas that don’t need full replacements, and remove the nest as much as possible. Make sure to rectify any areas where wood is wet or damp to prevent further rotting and repetitive infestation. The last, and most important step, is to give us a call and let us help you in protecting your structure and your investment.