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Flying ants invading my room! Calling all entomologists

BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
edited June 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I live on a third floor apartment. At night, when I have the light on, I see an army of winged ants coming up out of the floor, going for the light, and flittering around my monitor. I am reasonably sure they are ants and not termites. I've been killing them by the dozen (and making a pretty horrendous mess on my wall and wherever else they get to). Pretty mature looking ants and babies (or at least smaller ones) are in the mix. They definitely have segmented bodies, and they have a weird smell after you smash 'em. I really can't describe it, it's not "bad," but very weird and strong

This has been going on for a few nights. I keep my room devoid of ant-favorable trash, but I went ahead and cleaned up the clutter to see if I could track a source. Near as I can tell, they are just coming out of the carpet by the baseboards of the wall I see them climbing (or out of the baseboards themselves, I can't tell). It's only the one wall, opposite my bed (thank god), and rather distant from the window. It's next to the closet, but the closet itself seems to be devoid of ants.

I'm not sure what their destination is, some get off near my light (a lamp on the table by the wall), some make for my monitor (where they are promptly squished), and the rest just seem to be going straight up, although I don't see any on my ceiling or upper walls

My roommate saw a trail of normal ants AND winged ants in his bathroom (which shares a wall with my closet, though as mentioned my closet looks clear) today and he sent them to ant-hell with soap or windex. We have seen none in the kitchen or living area.

Am I just being invaded externally?

BlochWave on


  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Termites also have segmented bodies. Are you finding shedded wings laying about?

    Skoal Cat on
    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • UrQuanLord88UrQuanLord88 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    This is a seasonal thing and it means you have an ant nest nearby

    UrQuanLord88 on
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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    As you can tell, swarming ants are attracted to light. What I do to kill them is turn on an uncovered nightlight (preferably one not located at floor level) and put a bowl filled with soapy water underneath . They are very clumsy fliers and crash land right into the water after bumping into the light bulb.

    Siska on
  • Beren39Beren39 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    These swarms are a pretty common phenomenae during the summer months, they're sexually mature male and female ants looking to reproduce (called alates). Do they look anything like this?. I'm guessing they're citronella alates due to the smell you're describing, citronella ants are so named due to the distinctly bitter, citric smell they often have when squished. They're aphid farmers so it's extremely doubtful that they are going to form a colony in your house, I say keep at the squishing and try to seal up wherever they're getting in. It should cease really quickly. Are there wing-less workers getting in with them?

    Edit: I see that you did say some wingless workers were seen. You probably have some kind of crack in your foundation that borders one of their nests, try to locate it and seal it up. The workers are probably following the alates so once the swarming stops you should see a complete drop off either way.

    Beren39 on
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  • sys64738sys64738 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Might be odorous house ants. How long are they? Color?

    sys64738 on
  • LibrarianLibrarian The face of liberal fascism Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Yes, sounds like ants on the mating flight.
    The smaller winged ants are drones aka male ants the bigger ones are potential queens.
    If your roommate saw a trail of worker ants before that might be the source of your problem.
    If the queens have shed their wings it means they have mated successfully, which is unlikely if both drones and young queens are from the same colony.
    If you have a nest indoors they are most likely looking for a way out and are attracted by the lights.
    How big are those ants? Can you snap some pics?

    Librarian on
    Brad R. Torgersen says:


    Go read what I said about not arguing with third graders.
  • BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I typed a longer reply but got "server is too busy'd" and lost it

    Highlights: They are black, look like Beren's pic save for the color. No longer than 5mm

    thanks for the replies!

    BlochWave on
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