Experts reveal how to get rid of flying ants once and for all

Sorry, flying ants. It’s time for you to fly away home

Flying ants
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve spent your morning desperately Googling 'How to get rid of flying ants,' then you’re not alone. It’s flying ant season, ladies and gentlemen. So, gird your loins. 

Yes, legend has taught us that there’s a dedicated 'flying ant day' every year. On this day, all of the flying ants in the UK reportedly come out of their hidey holes in their droves, flapping their tiny wings, floating into your mouth as you cycle home from work, and forcing seagulls into a frenzy (which ultimately ends with some *good luck* on your shoulder). 

But we’d like to offer an amendment to this legend, as this flying ant 'day' is more like a flying ant summer. These pesky little critters keep coming back, swarming our gardens and invading our house. And we’ve had enough. 

Thankfully, similar to how you get rid of ants, there are ways to get rid of flying ants, though. And we asked the experts to explain how. 

Flying ants

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to get rid of flying ants

‘There's no doubt that this year's strange summer weather has had an impact on the ants' swarming behaviour, which could be why we're seeing an unusually large number of flying ants,’ suggests animal expert Tommy Wylde. And while we deal with this on a yearly basis, many people are still clueless as to what they can do about these pesky critters. So, here are some options:

1. Turn on your diffuser

The White Company electronic diffuser

(Image credit: The White Company)

Whether you love the sell-out White Company diffuser or prefer the cheaper Asda dupe, there’s a high chance you already have a diffuser in your house. If so, you’re already one step closer to getting rid of flying ants in your house. Especially as flying ants hate fragrant oils such as peppermint oil or citrus scents. 

By filling up your diffuser with a citrus or peppermint scent (hint: peppermint oil also helps you get rid of spiders), you should stop flying ants in their tracks and force them out of the house. Plus, you could even make a concoction to use around the house yourself.

‘Flying ants despise scents of citrus fruits, so mixing your leftover lemon, lime or orange peel with water can create an excellent rub to spread over your windowsill,’ suggests Adam Pawson, Marketing Director at Safestyle.

2. Bin any leftovers

Pull out drawer with bins for recycling

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Like all pesky critters, flying ants are attracted to anything food-related. In their eyes, the sweeter, the better, which is why you should always bin any leftovers and properly clean your kitchen as often as you can to stop the ants from entering your house. 

‘Keep any food items stored away or under cover and wipe up any sticky spills as soon as they happen to avoid attracting ants,’ says pest control expert Jonathan Nicholls at

And if they’re already in the house, they’ll most likely leave when they no longer have anything delicious to munch on. 

3. Apply a protective window film

Window film used in living room

(Image credit: Purlfrost)

What you might not realize is that your plain glass windows are enticing flying ants into your house every minute of every flying ant day. However, if you cover your windows in certain colours, you can create a natural bug repellent without even trying. 

Joanna Baumard, Co-founder of Purlfrost, explains, ‘Window film works like a charm because bugs are unable to detect blue and green hues on the UV spectrum. So, by simply adding these colours to your windows, you’re able to keep those pesky bugs at bay without the need for harmful chemicals.'

And considering mirror window film is a hot trend right now, adding a blue or green window film to your windows could be a great way to update your home decor while also getting rid of flying ants inside your house. Plus, once they’re out of the house, they won’t come back again. 

4. Close your windows

White living room with fireplace, L-shaped sofa and bean bag

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Flying ants normally come out of their hidey holes during the summer months, which is normally when you fling open your windows and let the cool breeze in. But this could actually be doing more harm than good.

Not only do health practitioners advise against opening windows on a hot day, but opening windows also invites a whole host of insects into your home. 

So, it may sound obvious, but closing your windows is one of the best ways to get rid of flying ants. Of course, you’ll want to deter them from the house initially by removing food scraps and utilizing citrus scents, and then you can focus on blocking their points of entry. 

‘Windows provide easy access for pesky flying ants to enter our properties, so it’s important to make sure any entry points are sealed shut. If any flying ants or insects have entered your home, make sure to frequently dust and clean any particularly light and airy spaces to ensure no insects or bugs get a chance to set up camp,’ states Adam.

5. Use fly traps as a last resort

If you’re really suffering from flying ants in your home and the above methods haven’t worked, you might want to consider fly traps or other pest control methods as a last resort. 

Of course, fly traps work wonders when you want to know how to get rid of flies, and they work in the same way for flying ants. And while you could opt to buy poisonous fly traps, we’d encourage you to try and make your own natural alternatives instead. For example, you could make a trap using honey or hand soap. 

However, if this still doesn’t work and you’re at a loose end, Daniel Steward, Managing Director at Shield Pest Control, has some tips. ‘If you notice a swarm of flying ants in your home, spray pesticides can help to rid of visible ants that are flying around or resting on surfaces,’ he says. 

‘You can also use a vacuum to eliminate visible ants, but it is crucial to ensure that the vacuum cleaner is emptied immediately and the bag is taken outside of the house to avoid the ants finding a way back into the home.’


What is the fastest way to get rid of flying ants?

The fastest way to get rid of flying ants is to vacuum them up or use a pesticide. However, both of these methods will cause harm to the flying ants - something that isn’t necessary when there are so many other natural alternatives. In most cases, prevention is better than the cure, and you can stop flying ants from entering your house by removing food traces, closing your windows, and even using citrus scents as a natural flying ant repellent. 

Why do flying ants suddenly appear?

Although they’re a nuisance, it’s important to understand that flying ants are a vital part of our ecosystem - and that they suddenly appear for a very important reason. 

‘While it might seem like the UK is being invaded by a black, winged armada every summer, these flying ants are just looking for love,’ explains Dr Cheri Honnas of Bone Voyage Dog Rescue. ‘Around July or August – thanks to the warm temperature – young queen ants leave their nests aiming to start new colonies, and male ants join them in this nuptial flight. Their large numbers? It's all about protection. They gather in swarms so predators can't pick them off easily.’

So, while it may seem like they appear out of nowhere, that’s not the case at all. They’re always around, but they’re especially active (and in noticeably large numbers) during this mating season.

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.