There’s no doubt that Tucson pests love the monsoons just as much as we do. One of these pests is the winged ants. Did you know that Arizona has more species of ants than any other state in the country? Ants strongly prefer warm temperatures, above 68 degrees F., and so it is no surprise 318 ant species call Arizona home.
Facts about the Flying Ant
All ant species live in colonies established by fertile females, or queens and although the majority of ants are wingless, all ant species produce winged ants. An ant colony needs several years to grow from when it is started to the point reproductive ants with wings are developed. The colony needs to produce several thousand worker ants before beginning to breed sexually mature ants with wings. There can be thousands of winged ants in one established colony.
Around this time of year when the humidity is high and the rains come, the winged reproductive males and winged females take flight in great swarms or mating arenas. Winged reproductive male and female ants emerge from the colony in large swarms usually following a day of heavy rain during the monsoon season. Such swarming behavior is usually synchronized by other nearby colonies so large numbers of winged ants suddenly appear. All mating for the species takes place, often over the course of a single day. They mate in the air, the males die and the mated females disperse to attempt establishing a new colony.
The flying ant often displays a behavior known as “hilltopping”. They swarm around the tallest object of the landscape like a tree or chimney. The females are much larger than the males, and they will try to dip and dodge the males, only allowing the fastest and fittest males to deposit their sperm. A queen will mate with several males, but males only mate with one female, if they are lucky. Most of these flying ants die without mating, many killed by worker ants of other species and other, various predators.
How do I know if they are flying ants or termites?
Winged ants and termites look very similar and are easily mistaken. Winged ants and termites both have four wings, however termites wings are the same length and in ants the two front wings are longer then the rear set. In addition, termite wings are twice as long as the body. You can also distinguish flying ants and termites by their waist. Ants have thin waists while termites have a chunky, broad-waisted look to them.
Flying ants are not dangerous to humans, even if they do show up indoors. In some cases, it is likely that an established colony exists within the home and may need to be treated. Carpenter ants and pharaoh ants are two species that can produce a nest within a building. However, ant swarms should not be ignored. Contact a professional pest control company for proper identification. Why pay for an expensive termite treatment when all you need is a simple ant treatment?
Call Conquistador Pest
Contact Conquistador Pest to help you with your flying ant control and extermination. Our licensed and insured exterminators will identify problem areas and work with you to determine the best possible ways to solve issues. Read about the other Tucson pest control services we offer. We also provide termite control and weed control.