Winged ants are an unusual phenomenon and raise many questions. Some people even raise alarm bells and are worried whether the winged crawlers can harm them. When the creepy insects appear en masse, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a scary movie. Here is what lies behind the mysterious flying ants.
Where do flying ants come from?
Ants with wings are first of all quite normal ants. However, they are larger than the usual representatives of their species. They are usually animals of the yellow or black-gray flying ant (Lasius flavus or Lasius niger). The winged animals are sexually mature males and females, chosen by birth to establish new ant colonies. While workers, guardians and soldiers are basically sterile in the ant state, a few eggs laid by the queen become breeding animals. Males hatch from unfertilized eggs, females from fertilized eggs. These animals are cared for in the colony in a stately manner and thus grow to a respectable size. Only these special sexual animals carry wings.
Why do flying ants appear in masses?
The wings have only one purpose for ants – propagation. Only by flying do the males and females get far enough around to mate with enough partners to lay the foundation for a new colony. The winged ants wait in their home hive until perfect flying weather prevails on a day in midsummer: dry, warm and windless. The nuptial flight of the ants takes place synchronously in several colonies. As if at an invisible signal, all the flight ants of one species swing into the air at the same time. This brings together large swarms of winged huge ants, which can be quite impressive. Each female mates with several males during this nuptial flight. She stores the sperm and uses it later to produce breeding ants again herself.
Are flying ants dangerous?
Flying ants in the house or garden are completely harmless and not aggressive. The only goal of the insects is to find other ants. Unfortunately, people and their houses are often in the way, which is why individual animals like to get lost in the living quarters, attracted by the light. However, flying ants are not dangerous. They neither sting nor bite, nor do they damage things. Since ants are not pests in the true sense of the word and are not aggressive, there is no need to fight them.
However, because the females are future queens, they should be discouraged from seeking a nesting site in the house. Simply complement the insects back outside and protect windows and doors with fly screens.
As fast as the flying ants appear in summer, as fast the spook is over again. After a few days, the great search for a mate is over and the animals disappear from the scene. The males die after mating. The females bite off their wings and become queens of their own state.