Why do Some Ants have Wings

Why do Some Ants have Wings and Some Other Facts

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If you ever catch a flying ant in your home, do not think that you are hallucinating! These are as common as flying cockroaches. But depending upon the season and species of flying ants, you can decide what measures to take. Some ants’ wings are pretty harmless, while some are a cause for concern. Let us find out.

Which Ants Have Wings?

There are some kinds of ants with wings and some without. Although, ants without wings are pretty common, in some places, ants with wings are also seen quite frequently. These are called carpenter ants. They may look similar to termites. These creatures are reproductive males or queens of the ant colony that can reproduce. Ants and termites gather in large groups to mate, after which, the male species die. To mate is their only life’s sole purpose. After mating, the queen ant drops its wings to look for a nesting site. So, next time you catch sight of an ant with wings, you must know that it is looking for a mating partner!

Why do Some Ants with Wings

Do Ants with Wings at Home Pose a Problem?

If you suddenly catch sight of ants with wings at home, or termites in flight mode, it indicates that these creatures are looking to mate somewhere in your home and add to their population. After mating, the queen ants will probably find a nesting place in your home and give birth to thousands of baby ants. This is a clear sign of indoor infestation and it is best to curb it as soon as possible. This is more common in winters. An ant with wings indicates that there is a carpenter ant nest somewhere in your home premises.

Flying Ants at Home in Summers:

If you find a winged ant or a few of them in your house in summers, then it does not necessarily indicate a problem. These can easily fly indoors through an open door or a window. But, without a nesting place, it will soon die. Ants are not active outdoors in winters and they look for breeding places inside homes. Only if you see flying ants indoors in winters, it means there is a risk of infestation inside.

What do Flying Termites at Home in Winters Indicate?

Just like carpenter ants, termites swarm and mate in warm places. If your house is pretty chilled in winters, then a flying termite may not necessarily indicate infestation, but if your house is warm enough, a flying termite may mean possible mating and growing in numbers. You will need to call a professional if you catch sight of flying termites in a warm home in winters or summers.

What is the Difference Between Ants and Termites?

The basic difference between termites and ants are the peculiar shapes of their bodies, wings, and antennae. Here are their differences listed:

Carpenter ants have:

  • Bent antennae
  • Dark colored bodies with narrow waists
  • Shorter back wings and longer front wings.

Termites have:

  • Straight antennae
  • Wings of the same size
  • Proportionately thick bodies

Do termites and ants with wings behave differently?

Why do Some Ants with Wings

Both carpenter ants and termites pose a lot of harm to the structures they are nesting in. Termites eat the wood in which they form groups and rest. Carpenter ants just nest in these structures, but do not eat it. Carpenter ants collect a lot of insect parts, soil and wood dust in the areas near their nest. They are more likely to be seen flying about in the house as compared to termites. Carpenter ants also nest in dry wood particularly, but sometimes, you can also find them in wet and rotting wood. Termites are found in wet and rotting wood mostly. Carpenter ants have the capacity to lift weight that is seven times more than their own only with their teeth. 

How can Ants with Wings be Controlled?

Carpenter ants can be controlled with perimeter spray, baits or insecticidal dust. Here is an in-depth explanation on how to use these:

Insecticidal Dust:

If you find ants’ wings indoors, then you can use insecticidal dust. You can find this dust especially labelled as dust for carpenter ants. It can be used by injecting in household areas where the ants are nesting. You can also drill small holes in areas that cannot be injected with directly and then inject the dust. 

Perimeter Spray:

If you find ants’ wings nesting outdoors, you can use a perimeter treatment. It is a granular or liquid insecticide that can be used in an area of about 2 to 4 feet wide all around the perimeter of your home. You can buy this product labeled as spray for control of carpenter ants to control the infestation. It is best used in spring season and fall season, just before winters. You need to follow all the directions mentioned on the label. This spray will not kill the ants, but will help you prevent the ants’ wings from coming into your homes.


Baits are a safer, easier and most effective way of controlling carpenter ants, although they take longer to gain full control. The ants on the lookout for food and water, will pick up the bait and carry it back to the queen and will eventually end up eliminating the entire ant colony. You should only use baits labeled for use against carpenter ants. If you use any other bait, it will not be as effective to get rid of the ants as the ones especially made for them.

Insecticide Sprays:

You can also use insecticidal sprays to control carpenter ants. These are only effective on foraging ants and do not affect the larger colonies nesting inside. But if ants’ wings have simply flown indoors from outdoors in summers, then an insecticide spray will easily kill these invaders and will prevent larger infestation possibilities.

Use any of the above-mentioned products after properly reading the instructions labeled on the product container. Only use products labeled for carpenter ants.