Brits declare ‘Flying Ant Day’ as tens of millions of bugs swarm skies and invade houses


The phenomenon of ‘Flying Ant Day’ occurs when a queen leaves a nest with a flock of males – and can cause chaos in public

Flying ants flooded the UK on Wednesday

Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

Many Britons have declared Wednesday the flying ant day as insects cover their windows and fill the air.

The phenomenon, which does not occur in a day, occurs when a queen leaves a nest together with a flock of males.

It takes place in July and August, often on several dates – and mostly in hot weather after a heavy rainy season.

Flying Ant Day can take place across the UK and cause havoc for the public across the country.

And many people took to social media on Wednesday to describe their encounters with the winged insects.

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News from places like Worcestershire, south London, Derbyshire and Bedfordshire all noted the arrival of millions of flying ants.

One person tweeted, “Surrey Flying Ant Day – Who Needs a Protein Snack After Running? NOT ME.”

Another added, “OH GOOD ITS FLYING ANT DAY. I was just wondering what the next plague would be.”

A third posted on Twitter: “Ugh, flying ants day in my garden. I just want to bring in the laundry.”

And a fourth said, “I swear this is like the third day of the flying ants we had this year – what’s up.”

The day of the flying ant – scientifically known as the wedding flight – happens when a young queen leaves the nest to find her own colony.

They mate with the strongest males in flight before landing and establishing their own colonies in a new location.

Although the name suggests that it is a 24-hour event, the day of the flying ants usually takes place over several days.

It then culminates in a date when people notice hundreds and thousands of swarms at once.

University of Gloucestershire Professor Adam Hart said cases are possible in July and later in August.

“The really busy time seems to be around the third week of July but it really depends on the weather,” he said.

“Sometimes we see the first wave around Wimbledon and if the weather holds we can see surfacing throughout August.”

A swarm of flying ants so large it was spotted on the Met Office’s radar was reported last month.

But despite the possible discomfort, it is best if you leave the ants alone.

Environmental science expert Aidan O’Hanlon told RSVP Live that people should just stay indoors during the peak of the flying ants.

The day is scientifically known as a wedding flight


Getty Images / iStockphoto)

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Other practical tips include cleaning the litter, closing feed containers and looking for ant nests.

“They can seem a nuisance, but ants are environmentally essential,” he said.

“Through their nesting behavior, they provide ventilation in the ground and in summer, when the ants swarm in large numbers, serve as a food source for birds, spiders, wasps and other insects.”

And while humans may not be particularly keen on the winged creatures, the natural occurrence for seagulls is like an early Christmas holiday.

The shorebirds take a day off to steal chips from beachgoers to swallow as many flying ants as possible.

The insects can make the seagulls “drunk” and make them unable to walk or fly.

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