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Flying Ant Day 2021 – Swarms so big they show up on Met Office radar after emerging in hot and humid weather

A SWARM of flying ants so big that it was detected on the Met Office radar has emerged after the hot and humid weather.

Around this time of year, the winged critters bombard the country after a mass hatching sees them spring from the ground.


The Met Office radar picked up on the insets flying over London last week during the Wimbledon finals and the Euro 2020.

Rentokil pest control says Flying Ant Day, which usually spans over several days, is the period of time where baby ants emerge from their nests to mate.

With temperatures on the rise, experts believe more people will see the insects around the country.

Tips to keep the pesky minibeasts away from homes is to clean up litter, keep things sealed and watch for ant nests.

Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control said this is a common occurrence.

"Each summer thousands of flying ants emerge from their nests to swarm and mate," he explained. 

"Flying ants often come out in huge numbers as a survival tactic designed to overwhelm potential predators such as swifts and gulls.

PESKY MINIBEASTS

"Often referred to as flying ant day, such events often occur in different areas of the country at different points across the summer months with flying ants emerging when weather conditions are favourable."

After mating, the female ants fall to the ground and lose their wings and will then start to look for a suitable location to start a new nest. 

"Commonly known as black garden ants, they often colonise locations under pots, in between and under patio slabs and in planters," said Mr Blackhurst.

"Ants that discover a new food source will produce a pheromone trail," explained Mr Blackhurst, adding that it is a chemical secretion that helps other ants from the same colony track the same food source. 

The size of the ants makes them tricky to spot if they come indoors, but they do leave a sticky residue behind on worktops.

This is because they eat sweet things, so it is possible to keep an eye out for an infestation in the early stages.

One of the key ways to keep the insects from your home is to clean away food and drink residue – especially anything sugary – say Rentokill.

"Be sure to clean up sticky messes, and don't leave the washing up to fester. Also, keep surfaces clean and clear of food, so there isn't anything to attract them," they said.

Keeping the house clean also helps to ban the ants from your doors, and keep food sealed will also help.

"Ants will always seek out food, whether it is stored or being prepared. Be sure to store food in sealed containers, and ensure all rubbish is kept in sealed containers, to avoid attracting ants indoors," according to Rentokil.

Whilst enjoying the sunny weather, keep an eye on cracks in your patio and decking.

"By watching where the ants disappear into a crack, you'll be able to locate the nest – and have a place to aim ant killer powder before the problem escalates any further," a spokesperson for the company explained.

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