Flying ant swarms

Asked October 31, 2019, 8:07 AM EDT

in the past week, we've had two flying ant events from the same spot. The ants are emerging right next to my house foundation. They fly about for a few hours and then disappear back underground. A friend thinks they are citronella ants. I'm wondering if this is right and if I should be concerned that that are colonized next to my foundation. The flying ants are reddish brown. There are smaller yellow/orange ants with them. You can see both in the pictures.

Montgomery County Maryland insects pest control ants pest insects and mites citronella ants ants near foundation flying ants near foundation

1 Response

We need to be able to clearly see the tiny nodes in between the thorax and abdomen in order to identify the ant species definitively. If these ants give off a strong citronella or lemon odor when disturbed or crushed, then they are citronella. It is a very distinctive identifier.

At any rate, ants are beneficial and essential in your landscape so we wouldn't recommend any action unless you find them year-round in your house. Ants are fearsome foes of termites, so actually, it is good to have them around the foundation.

These are reproductives, which means it is a successful colony. The winged ants wiill take off and settle elsewhere.

We are able to say definitively that these are not carpenter or acrobat ants, which are the problem ants in homes.

We'd recommend that you remove the brick(s) there, which may be attractive to the ants. Also, mulch should not be right up against a house, as it encourages insect activity there.

Here is our ants page: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/ants

Ellen