Anyone Encounter the Flying Ants Swarming on 14th Street and at Metro Center?

by Prince Of Petworth August 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm 30 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

This was a rather bizarre set of tweets from last night:

@estherysong tweeted last night:

“WHY are there so many fearless fruit flies on 14th from T to W?! cc @PoPville”

Which led to @VBagate’s tweet:

“In somewhat offbeat but important DC news, there is a freak swarm of flying ants or something like that near the entrance to Metro Center.”


“flying ants is accurate. Did we do something to a DC Moses?”


  • sasindc

    Sarlings or sparrows, probably.

  • JM

    Yeah! I ran into them on my bike at 14th & Park in CH. I was picking them off my clothes and out of my teeth for 10 minutes when I got home.

  • AG

    I think I drove into a swarm of them back in Florida this weekend. It was so bizarre. Stopped at a stoplight, look at my window and windshield and there are at least a few dozen. It was disgusting, but as soon as I drove off, they were gone. Super weird. And kind of unrelated but I am going crazy with fruit flies in my new apartment. They’ve been there since I moved in (i.e. before there was any fruit anywhere). I don’t even have any food out and they won’t go away.

    • phl2dc
      • Caroline

        Yup. My best method is to put apple cider vinegar with a squirt of dish soap in a glass and leave it out for the little buggers. The ACV attracts them and the dish soap gums up their wings so that they get trapped in the liquid. Gross, but affective.

        • AG

          They like vinegar?! That might be it, as I keep a bottle in my shower for a hair rinse and occasionally clean with the distilled stuff. Whatever happened to the whole attract flies with honey not with vinegar? Lies!

    • anon

      when i worked in restaurants and bars, we usually noticed fruit flies living in the drains!
      we would cover up our drains with saran wrap or whatever was somewhat sealed when we weren’t using them, and we would put some industrial fly control liquids down the drains http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/fruit_fly.htm

      good luck!

    • Emily

      In FL they may have been “love bugs” one of the grosser insect swarms.

  • Annon

    They were all over the corner of Mass and 17th at about 8:15 last night. It was gross.

  • bruno

    Glad someone mentioned this. As I biked home from Metro Center area through Shaw yesterday, I was covered in fruit flies, smacking against my white shirt and buffeting my face. I had experienced that in New England with mayflies, but it was a first in D.C.

  • Nancy

    I was running on the Metropolitan Branch Trail around 7 and had to cut my run short because of what seemed like a mini-plague of small bugs. They looked like small flies or ants. They were stuck to my body and in my mouth, hair, and eyes. I would flick about 8 off and then I would look down and there would be 8 more. There wasn’t a noticeable swarm.

  • MT

    Whatever they were, I also encountered them while walking up 17th last night. They kept landing on me and not just hovering. I’m not usually a squeamish bug person, but it was gross.

  • CatieCat

    I walked through a TON last night in Bloomingdale. Gross

  • Anon, A Mouse

    Running the Mall 7:30-8:30ish swarms of gnats or small flys. Not the usual mini clusters of midges or something. These were more individual and just everywhere and it looked like they were on everyone. Maybe all the bats are on holiday.

  • andie302

    These might be termites. When I was in basic training we were sitting in the woods and what seemed like a million flying ants came up very quickly all around where we were doing training. They landed on and around us, and then quickly started shedding their wings and crawling. So gross, but kind of awesome all at the same time. I had to look it up afterwards to confirm it was termites.

    • This is my thought. Termites all leave the nest (a rotten tree stump etc.) all at once in a cloud.

    • BMouse

      And they do look like flying ants. Someone’s house is about to fall down.

  • UDPie

    Me too! Biking home down Mass I was assaulted by many bugs – all small, all seemingly out of nowhere – all the way from NE to NW on Mass.

  • Anon

    Oddly enough, biking through Rock Creek Park last night was one of the only nights in recent memory that I DIDN’T fly through a swarm of tiny bugs… Maybe they all wanted a night out on the town?

  • Mug of Glop

    There were tons of them hanging out pretty much everywhere along 17th/Connecticut between the Mall and M Street. Everyone I was with on my run yesterday evening (7:15-8:00-ish) was pretty well decorated with living and dead ones. Gross.

  • wmm

    My girlfriend and I were walking through Logan Circle en route to 14th and P where we were bombarded by these little nasties!

  • topscallop

    Oh my god. This is a nightmare I never knew I could have. Thanks, popville!

  • misspiggie

    I was so covered in them last night from just the 4 minutes it took me to take out the trash that I had to take a shower. Yuck!

  • sbc

    I once worked in an office that had “natal swarms” of termites. Could be that.

  • Anonymous

    Glad someone posted this. I was headed to the bus near Metro Center station last night around 7:30 and kept wondering why it appeared as if I was being followed by a swarm of flying bugs. I kept feeling these things crawling on me, even after I got on the bus. I thought I was imagining it.

  • bizzinger

    YES! I ran into a swarm of crazy bugs along 16th Street last night around 8:30. It was several blocks by Meridian Park, and it was disgusting.

  • elbeech

    I was swimming at Hains Point last night and all of a sudden around 8:15 the pool was covered with dead ones. Lots of non-drowned ones flying about too. It is a plague of flying ants?

  • Qzie

    We walked through them too and were like “What????”–we went through a cloud at 5th and Florida NW at 7:45 p.m. just as we were entering The Royal and had to pick them out of our hair–yuck!

  • Nigel T

    Some of these little feckers bite; they are not just fruit flies!

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    I encountered what seemed like thousands of these bugs near the FBI building on Tuesday night, around 9th and E. Awful! Where are the police to prevent this sort of thing?


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