Flying ants are able to bite because they have sharp mandibles like other ants. Although flying ants can bite, they are usually harmless because they only fly during the nuptial period when they are solely focused on mating.
In this article, we’ll explore flying ants in more detail, learn about their bites and stings and how they affect humans, and go over some tips for how to deal with the little blighters.
Are Flying Ants More Aggressive than Ground Ants?
Flying ants are no more aggressive than ground ants. They the same species, but if they are flying it means it’s mating season. During the nuptial flights, flying ants are likely going to be less aggressive than when they are in the nest, because they are focused on mating and have no nest to defend.
Ants are attracted to sweat, so don’t go poking and prodding at them. Just leave them alone and they will leave by themselves.
Ants are social insects which means different ants have got different job roles to fulfill. The ants you normally see moving around and collecting food, are mostly female worker ants who are sterile and do not possess any wings.
In the ant universe, only those ants that have got an active role in reproduction contain wings. Hence the queen ant and male ants of the majority of the ant colonies contain wings as they play an important role in the expansion of the colony.
On certain days of the year when there is no rainfall, the weather is mildly warm and there is no strong wind current around, the young queen ants of the colonies leave their nest and engage in mating ritual mid-air with the other male ants. This is called nuptial flight and as it happens only a few times a year, which is why it can feel like you are seeing flying ants out of nowhere.
The male ants shortly die after the nuptial flights as their job has been done and the young queen gets rid of its wings and starts to lay eggs within a few days using the sperm storage she has procured to form a new colony on its own.
Are Flying Ant Bites Harmful to Humans?
Flying ants pose almost little to no harm to humans as they are solely focused upon minding their own business. During nuptial flights, their main goal is to engage in the mating process and they are not focused on biting, stinging, or interacting in any way with humans.
Most ant varieties are not venomous, but their stinging can hurt briefly. Most flying ant varieties are harmless and don’t pose a threat to humankind.
If an ant does bite a human, in most cases it’s not harmful. Different ants have different mandibles and thus their bites vary in strength and severity. There are over 10,000 ant species across the world, and some species have been known to be fatal to humans such as the Bulldog Ant (Myrmecia).
What Happens if a Flying Ant Bites You?
In general, most common ant species do not pose any threat with their bite or sting. The pain will be slight to moderate and will go away by itself within a few hours. There will be swelling, redness around the area where it bit you and you may have a burning sensation in that area.
The intensity of the sting will certainly vary a lot depending on the ant species. For example, carpenter ants are known to have a mild sting whereas the sting of the fire ants is known to be more intense and can be quite painful and it is normal to have an itchy lump which in most cases gets better within an hour or so.
Occasionally, ant stings or bites can cause an allergic reaction and may require medical attention. Please see a medical professional if you’re concerned.
What to Do if a Flying Ant Bites?
In general, most ant bites heal on their own with little to no care required unless you have an allergy. If you are having irritation at the sting site, you can wash it properly and then apply a clean cloth over it.
You can even add an ice pack over the sting site for 15 minutes or so but make sure not to apply ice directly onto the site.
If a flying ant bite is causing you anything more than brief irritation, it’s important that you get checked out by a medical professional. Most ant bites are harmless, but there are some species with venomous stings that require medical treatment.
However, bites from fire ants can turn ugly sometimes. If you don’t feel well even after some time and have further pain in the adjacent area followed by more swelling, breathing trouble, and fever, it will be wise to go to the doctor immediately as it can be a sign for a severe allergic reaction which is quite rare but not completely unheard of and it can be really serious.
The chances of you having such allergic reactions are high if you had symptoms like these in the past when you were bit by an ant. So under those circumstances you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Will Flying Ants go Away on Their Own?
Flying ants will leave on their own once their nuptial flight is over. They may swarm an area for two or three days before they leave. Unless they are causing a serious problem, it’s best just to let them do their thing and let them leave.
In most instances, swarming ants or flying ants are only seen during the hotter summer months of July, August, and September right after heavy rainfall, and as the sole goal of the flying ants is to engage in a periodic mating ritual, you can see the abundance of the flying ants anywhere from a few hours to a few days to a few weeks.
However, during those few days of the year, you can end up seeing flying ants in hundreds if not in thousands swarming around.
Ants reproduce quickly, so they will leave after a couple of days if you just leave them alone.
How to Keep Flying Ants Out of the House
1. Close your windows and seal off any cracks
Luckily you won’t be seeing ants flying around all year round, even though the exact swarming period of flying ants varies a little bit depending on the variety, the chances are high that you won’t be bothered by the swarming ants for more than one or two weeks in a given year.
So during this period, simply the act of keeping windows closed and sealing off cracks around the walls, window panes, and doors can go a long way to contain their disturbance. This advice also applies to ground ants, who can climb walls.
2. Use a vacuum to clean up any that have already entered your home
Vacuuming the ants away is the simplest and easiest way of quickly removing ants from inside your house.
3. Consider spraying essential oil around the house
Ants are very sensitive to smell and strong scents of peppermint oil, lavender oil, and lemon oil affect their scent picking up ability and they hate that. If you see flying ants swarming across your house, spraying a bit of these essential oils with water will be a good idea. Especially spray targeting the windows, doors, drains, and pipelines all across the home.
Related: Does Vinegar Repel Ants?
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Flying ants generally mind their own business and have got nothing to do with humans however at times they can enter the house through open windows and can cause a nuisance. Unless they feel threatened they don’t generally bite. However, if they bite, the intensity of their sting will depend a lot on their species type.
Certain varieties like the carpenter ants have got a mild sting whereas fire ants can sting hard. But all sorts of flying ant stings easily heals at home within a few hours with basic fast aid, however rarely it can lead to allergic reactions, and at those times, medical assistance must be sought out immediately.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.