Published On: Thu, Jul 18th, 2019

Flying ants SWARM: Why are there so many flying ants right now?


Clusters of flying ants have taken to the skies in recent days as queens mate with males for the annual breeding frenzy. Flying ant season arrives every July and August, although it can run as long as June to September. The swarms we see clogging up our air space can be explained by the insects travelling together in packs to keep themselves protected. Queens will mate with several males before returning underground to nest in what is known as the nuptial flight.

There is not a definitive day when the ants emerge from their caverns.

The swarming behaviour occurs with the arrival of hot and humid weather.

Right now, the warmest conditions are in the south of the country, which is why they have been spotted in large numbers there over recent days.

The Met Office said its space satellites picked up an infestation of the big ants – some of which can measure up to 15mm long – on its radar along the south coast.

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Muggier temperatures in cities means they are more likely to group together in those areas too.

David Cross, head of the Technical Training Academy, Rentokil Pest Control spoke to Express.co.uk about the ritual.

He said: “While the warm weather is a welcome change to the recent spate of showers across the country, the rising temperatures of late June to early July can also cause an unwelcome increase in swarms of flying ants – giving rise to what’s now commonly known as Flying Ant Day.

“When the temperature goes past a certain point, large females and smaller males that have developed in neighbouring nests of black garden ants take to the air in huge numbers and initiate mating flights.

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While flying ants do tend to be the skies on humid, non-windy days, there is still the possibility of them lingering after a downpour.

The Natural History Museum says there is “anecdotal evidence” that flying ants swarms “often occur after some summer rain”.

To keep flying ants at bay from your home, it is vital to keep surfaces clean and non sticky.

Make sure you seal food and do not leave any unopened containers lying around.



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