Flying ants in my home or something else? (Tom, USA)


Dear Ant Experts,

You really can find anything online! I'm so glad I found your website. Please help me as I can't identify these flying ants.

In prior years I've noticed these flying ant like bugs outside my home. A few days ago I noticed two in my kitchen. Then the next morning about a half dozen. Same the next day. This morning there weren't that many.

I've been looking for information to identify them when I found your site. They don't exactly match the pictures of either ants or termites I've seen online. They look more like flying ants but with very small heads. The time of year and other behavior doesn't seem to match up with things I've read online.

They move around clumsily as if they're not used to having wings. I found some dead that appeared to have fallen on their backs and couldn't get up. I am located in the north east NJ.

Please help me figure out what I have, where they might be coming from and what best to do about preventing their entry in my home. Spending hours looking at pictures of bugs online is starting to creep me out :)

I've included some pictures. Wish I could have taken better but hoping that along with the description is enough.

Thank you,
Tom

Update:
This morning I saw dozens of these flying ants in my kitchen and I desperately need something to do about them. I'm worried I may have to call an exterminator. Two things concern me. 1) I may not have termites and they tell me I do and charge me extra which I can't really afford. 2) I may have termites and I won't treat effectively for them.
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Dear Tom,

Thank you for contacting AntBlog!  I am sure you can image that around this time of year we receive many emails regarding ants in peoples homes. 

The ants you found are the common pavement ant, Tetramorium cf. caespitum.  These are the ants you can often see waging battles between the cracks in the sidewalk.  Winged forms you are finding are sexuals (the males and females) that are produced about once a year to found new colonies (you can read more about how to identify the sexual forms here).  The release of these sexuals usually coincides with the first really hard rains of the season or other environmental cues. 

You can read more about pavement ants in these four previous AntBlog posts:

- http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2013/06/territorial-battles.html
- http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2012/06/lots-of-sidewalk-ants-virginia-philadelphia-pennsylvania-usa.html
- http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2012/05/ant-pile-up-val-centennial-co-usa.html
- http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2011/01/where-did-north-america-pavement-ants-genus-tetramorium-come-from.html

If you are not seeing any of the wingless workers (typical ants) walking around your home, you likely just have your house in the way of their flight path.  These ants are not very commonly found in homes and do not cause structural damage like termites or carpenter ants.  But, if you start to see large numbers of the workers in your home to you can try some of the tips on these two posts:

- http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2010/07/help-i-have-ants-in-my-home-and-want-them-out-oscar-oakland-ca-usa.html
- http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2011/06/winged-ants-in-bathroom-please-help-homeowners-with-ant-problem.html

Best regards,
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

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