Flying Ant Day has hit parts of the UK, with many Brits forced to shut windows to protect their homes from winged insects.
While Brits are sweating in the blistering heat the flying pests, which come in their thousands and leave you swatting away at your face, have returned.
Flying Ant Day, as it’s been dubbed, is the phenomenon which takes place once a year which sees queen ants emerge from their nest to begin their first flight.
In most species, male ants fly alongside but they are smaller and not quite as easy to spot.
The queens fly around, mate, then drop to the ground where they lose their wings and try to form a colony.
This is what most people see: the gathering cloud of thousands of flying ants, no longer flying very much, buzzing around on the ground.
The throng of insects often attracts predators like birds and it’s common to see flocks swooping at the bugs looking for a bite.
Flying Ant Day – which can often last for two to three days – has been reported in Leeds and Bradford but it usually happens within a few days in across the UK.
@lucymh44 said: “Flying ant day. I’m hiding in the house so many flying ants and I am not a fan of them getting stuck in my hair.”
@wasnapper said: “Today must be the official Flying Ant day, just back from a good walk and millions of the little buggers everywhere”
A researcher involved in a project at the University of Leeds said: “Ants, like the black garden ant (Lasius niger), generally live underground, but for a few days each year the young male and new queen ants take to the air to mate and find a new home.
“Once they have mated they drop to the ground, and the new queens unhook their wings and scurry underground – never to be seen above ground again for the rest of their lives – which can be up to 25 years.
“But why do ants generally fly all at once, for only a few days per year?
“We know that weather is a major factor, and in our project we want to find out two things:
“One – What specific weather conditions are important for triggering ‘flying ant day’?
“Two – Can flying ant swarms be seen on weather radar scans? “
The university is asking people to report their sightings of flying ants anywhere in the UK in order to help better understand the crazy phenomenon.
Otherwise, the Flying Ants are harmless and won’t spread any disease or damage your home, so you can pick them up and put them back outside safely, and you needn’t attack or kill the colonies as they form.