Ants aren’t just flying readily into your home for the hell of it. They’re attracted by something indoors. It could be the relative safety and tranquillity inside, away from predators, or the climate of your home (remember that heat and humidity we talked about?).
But it’s much more likely that they’re flying in to chow down on some leftovers. Now, ants aren’t picky. They’ll eat just about anything that has any trace amount of nutritional value to it, even if you’ve thrown that into your disgusting bin and left it to rot.
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By simply eliminating this food waste and disposing of perishables appropriately, you can drastically lower your chances of flying ants coming in for a landing.
Try to avoid leaving fresh fruit out in the open and keep food well packaged and sealed in your cupboards so as to avoid letting any smells, morsels or crumbs reach the twitching antennae of any opportunistic ants in the neighborhood.
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As someone who writes a lot of insect and pest self-help articles – I’ve grown used to advising alternative methods for pest repelling and killing, but you’ve got to figure that all those mass produced aerosol sprays work for something, right?
Well, ants are part of the answer to that rhetorical question. Most commercial bug sprays that you can find on supermarket shelves will do the job.
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These will work for regular (sterile) ants and flying ants alike; but if you really want to catch them when they’re at their most confident and youthful – i.e. looking for a mate – then you want to opt for a brand/aerosol with a wide spray area so you can better target the swarm.
Note: make sure you’re using an appropriate spray if spritzing indoors and try not to use it around pets or young children.
Make your own DIY spray
homemade ant killer
Orrrr…You can try your own alternative, DIY ant killer spray and save on the pennies.
All you need is a simple spray bottle and some ant-killing ingredients. The killing factor comes in all shapes and sizes – peppermint oil, for example is a highly popular flying ant killer because it suffocates them upon contact. Just mix a little in with some water and you’re good to go.
Ditto simple dishwashing soap. Most of these liquid soaps will bog the ant down in sticky, gluey ooze and stop them in their tracks. As a bonus, most types of popular soap will dehydrate the bugs, too, killing them from the outside in. Yaaay!
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You knew it might come to this…If your flying ant problem is persistent and doesn’t seem to be responding to any of your counterattacks, then the best course of action is to hunt them down at the source. The small bonus is that flying ants won’t have travelled too, too far from their nest or ant hill so it shouldn’t be too difficult to track it down.
Usually the nest or hill will be outside, which means you can try some non-toxic solutions such as raking or digging the hill over and sending the (mostly wingless, remember) ants scurrying. There’s no guarantee that this will be an effective, permanent move though, so you’re probably better opting for some harsher pesticides or perhaps even flooding the hill with boiling soapy water to become a true home wrecker.
Bonus trick: if you’re unable to actually find the hill or source, then you can count on the ants’ natural homing instincts to do the job for you. Some pesticides, sprays and traps will cover an unsuspecting ant in the toxic material without killing them immediately.
Things like diatomaceous earth or slow-acting insecticides will adhere to the body of the ant. When he or she returns to the nest later, they’ll be dragging the substance in with them, killing off family members without you having to lift a finger.
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Speaking of traps…You might think it’d be difficult to reliably expose flying or even regular crawling ants to granulated killers and you’d be right – which is why we use our superior intellect against ‘em.
Ants have a species-wide sweet tooth. They’ll make an immediate bee-line for anything sugary, which makes it the perfect bait for all manner of different traps.
You can purchase ready-made traps by the dozen which are essentially little cardboard structures that lure the ants in and then glue them to the floor or poison them with expensive pesticides.
However, it’s just as simple to make your own traps with nothing more than sugar, some Borax or a cheap ant poison, like baking powder, and a bit of cardboard.
Smear the cardboard strip in the poison of your choice and mix it in with the sugar, or dip it into sugary water – anything to get it sickly sweet and attractive. Then, simply leave it out in spots that the flying ants have been active and you’ll soon start to see the bodies hit the floor, literally.
Another great little homemade trap is to use duct tape. You can either spread it out in the same way as the DIY traps we just talked about, or you can hang it from the roof in little streamers to catch flying ants as they buzz on through your space – bonus if you manage to attach some sort of sugary lure to attract them!
Or, if all of that sounds like it’s just too much running around…and let’s be honest: it kind of is. You could simply invest in a bug zapper.
Bug zappers are fantastic inventions: lure, killer and catcher all rolled into one handy device. Just hang one around problem areas, or even just anywhere that’s in ‘view’ of any ant hills you know are causing you problems.
The bright, flickering light will lure the flying ants in and… well, you know the rest. A great, laidback solution, but it’s not going to take care of the ground problem.
All I can do is offer up the information: it’s really up to you to decide which method will work best for your situation; no one solution is the be all and end all of flying ant killing. It’s all trial and error.
And dead ants. Lots of dead ants.