I live in the calif desert. I went outside today and there was thousands of red ants with 4 wings. They're everywhere on the roof and side of house. I sprayed them with ant spray but it doesn't seem to do anything. What can I use to get rid of them?
Most all ant colonies will send out swarmers or winged ants when they attempt to grow and expand. Most of these winged reproductives will die but some will mate and new nests will start to grow. In most cases these swarmers are attracted to certain physical characteristics of a home or landscape when you see large quantities like you have seen on your house. It could also be there is a nest close by. Just why they choose your house is never easy to understand but it could be the color, shape or size that attracts them or it could even be an odor. Regardless of why they seemingly like your house, there is a good chance you're about to have more than just swarmers. In all likelihood, a female and male have successfully mated and a new colony is almost assuredly about to start. To stop it from prospering, I suggest you start doing some pest control around the structure if you're not doing any now.
At this point I suggest you take some time to read through our INSECT CONTROL article. In the reading you'll learn all the reasons why doing pest control as a preventive measure makes sense. Doing preventive pest control will almost always stop problems from forming, requires very little product applied to be effective and is far less costly to do compared to the cost one must spend when trying to get rid of an existing problem. At this point, it would be wise for you to put 1-2 products to use right away that will both stop any ant colony from forming and keep out perimeter pests for some time to come.
For starters, I suggest a good application of BIFEN GRANULES around the home in the turf. These are slow releasing, odorless and work on just about any pest. Ants that walk over a treated area will die and they won't be able to nest where the Bifen is applied. Applying this product 2-4 times a year will do a great job of keeping unwanted pests from the yard and it's both easy to do and low in cost.
After the granules are applied, it would be wise to spray the exterior of the home with a good liquid residual. Since it's unclear just what species of ant may have been swarming, there is a good chance a nest will form above ground. Liquid spraying the home with CYONARA RTS will take care of any insects present and should last several weeks after applied. It can also be sprayed out over the yard. I mention the Cyonara because it comes with it's own hose end sprayer so you'll be able to use the water pressure of the home to get up high and make the treatment easy to do. Alternatively you could get a concentrated form of the CYONARA and mix it in a PUMP SPRAYER and do a similar job. In the long run the concentrate would be less costly to employ but the difference in sprayer will mean more work with the concentrate for your initial application. However, once this current situation is treated, you really shouldn't have to spray nearly as much in the future so the pump sprayer option will fit the tab nicely.
In summary, using these two products periodically around the home will prevent any pests from getting established and this form of pest control is always the best approach when it comes to pest management in and around the home. This way should there be any type of insect swarm on or near the home, the pest won't be able to get established. You'll notice I didn't mention anything about spraying inside and that's because if you keep the outside perimeter of the home pest free, there is usually no need to treat inside. And that's just one more reason why doing preventive treatments makes sense:)
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Insect Control Article: http://www.bugspray.net/insect-control
Bifen Granules: http://www.bugspray.com/item/453410.html
Cyonara RTS: http://www.bugspray.com/item/cyonara_rts.html
Cyonara Concentrate: http://www.bugspray.com/item/cyonara_ec.html