swarm of flying ants picked up on the rainfall radar by the met office uk over south of England
The met office UK today have confined that the radar echos over the south of England are flying ants.
Conditions are now perfect for the garden ant (Lasius niger) to make its yearly ‘nuptial flight’, where the queen will be proceeded by randy males hoping to mate with her. Flying Ant Day usually occurs when a spell of wet weather is followed closely by hot humid weather. The swarms may annoy some people but they’re great news for seagulls, who find flying ants very tasty and can appear drunk after eating a few. The ants produce formic acid that can ‘stupefy’ the birds. During flight, virgin queen ants mate with males who then lose their wings and fall to the ground in the hopes of starting a new colony.
Queen ants can live for over ten years and spend most of their lives in their nest. New queens, however, will leave to mate and found a colony of their own. The flying ants seen today are males and young queens.
The date of Flying Ant Day changes every year but the weather appears to have made it today. It can last a few weeks and by the end of it billions of ants would have taken flight. The Lasius niger nests typically have a single queen ant and around 5,000 worker ants – although it could be as many as 15,000.
But are flying ants dangerous and can they bite you?
Flying ants are known for biting people but do not worry as they cannot hurt you.
ant bites and stings are generally harmless, although you’ll probably feel a nip.
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