Every summer, usually in July or August, you’ll suddenly notice flying ants appearing everywhere in the UK.
This phenomenon is known as Flying Ant Day – although it’s confusing because it doesn’t actually happen on one particular day every year.
The dates change – and it isn’t usually just one day either. Confused? We’ll explain.
At some point during the summer we know we’ll start to see giant swarms of winged insects across the UK.
So far there hasn’t been much mention of them – but as swarms of these insects are common around this year, we take a closer look at the phenomenon and when it’s likely to happen.
What is Flying Ant Day?
Flying Ant Day happens when a young queen leaves the nest to find their own colony.
The swarms are made up of queen and male flying ants.
The queens will mate with the strongest males during the flight, before landing and starting their own colonies at a new location.
Although dubbed Flying Ant Day, it usually happens over several days, before culminating in a date when people notice hundreds and thousands of swarms at once.
When do flying ants come out?
Flying Ant Day doesn’t happen on a specific day each year.
However, last year Flying Ant Day took place in most pasts of the country on July 12.
It usually happens in July due to the hotter drier weather, sometimes after a period of heavy rain.
Professor Adam Hart at the University of Gloucestershire said: “The really busy time seems to be around the third week of July, but it really depends on the weather.
“Sometimes we see the first wave around Wimbledon and if the weather holds we can see emergences throughout August.”
So there is a chance flying ant day could happen very soon.
How long do the flying ants live for?
The flying ants you see on Flying Ant Day are males and young queens.
Males don’t do any work in the ant nest, so once flying ant day is over, they have served their purpose.
They will only go on to live for a couple of days after the event.
This is why you’re likely to see hundreds of dead ants along the pavements and car bonnets.
However, the queens can live for up to 15 years, so they will go on to create their new ant colonies.
The good news is that they will only spent a small amount of time as winged, or flying ants.
How to get rid of flying ants
Flying ants are known for biting people, but don’t worry, they can’t hurt you.
The NHS website says bites and stings are “generally harmless, although you’ll probably feel a nip.”
Nevertheless, there are ways of getting rid of them if want to.
Here are some simple tips for getting rid of flying ants.
- Catch them with sticky tape
- Use artificial sweetener
- Use insecticidal powder