How to Kill Flying Ants in Swimming Pools

Updated November 21, 2016

Caring for a pool can be time-consuming, and once you learn how to keep the chemicals in balance, you may think you have everything under control. That is, until you discover the swarm of flying ants that have descended on the water. The flying ants can be any number of species of ants with wings, two of the more common being fire ants and carpenter ants. Luckily, there are a few inexpensive and simple ways to kill flying ants in your swimming pool.

Place tennis balls into your pool at night. During the night, the ants will climb onto the tennis balls to get out of the water, giving you an easy way to retrieve them.The number of tennis balls you need depends on the size of your pool and the number of flying ants you are battling. In general, a half dozen tennis balls will be enough. However, if you have a large pool or a serious infestation, you may want to include a few more.

Mix together 1 qt. room temperature water, 1 tbsp liquid dish detergent and 1 to 2 drops peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle. When mixing, do not over-agitate the bottle or you will form lots of bubbles. Make sure you use liquid dish detergent for your sink, not the one for your dishwasher. You can find essential oils at health food stores.

Scoop the balls out of the water in the morning using a pool net.

Spray the tennis balls down with your homemade ant spray. You can also use a commercial ant killer instead (but be sure to thoroughly clean the tennis balls before placing them back in the pool). Another option is to pour boiling water directly onto the tennis balls to kill the ants.


You may need to repeat the process as necessary. To prevent flying ants and other insects from entering your pool, cover your pool when not in use. Covers can be purchased at pool supply stores.


Be careful not to scald yourself if you use boiling water. Boiling water can kill the grass around your pool.

Things You'll Need

  • Tennis balls
  • Water
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Spray bottle
  • Pool net
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