Bizarrely, every year around the same time during the summer, a huge invasion of flying ants appear all over the country.
It’s a nightmare for those who hate bugs, but very intriguing for those who don’t.
The flying ants all leave their nests at the same time, meaning it’s common for Brits to see giant black clouds of swarming winged insects.
The phenomenon is known as national Flying Ant Day – but it can actually last for a few days or even weeks. It can also occur at different times across the country.
However, there is usually one specific day where they all emerge at the same time.
Here’s everything you need to know about Flying Ant Day 2022.
What is Flying Ant Day?
Flying Ant Day is a phenomenon that happens when a young queen leaves the next to find their own colony.
The giant swarms that can be seen are made up of queen and male flying ants.
The queens will mate with the strongest males during flight, before landing and starting their own colonies at a new location.
When is Flying Ant Day 2022?
It’s believed that Flying Ant Day 2022 started on July 8, when flying ants could be seen swarming up and down the country.
Taking to Twitter, one person said: “It’s Flying Ant Day. Don’t go outside. Save yourselves. It’s too late for me.”
Another said: “I can’t confirm this, but Boris Johnson must be the first Prime Minister to resign on Flying Ant Day.”
However, it’s believed Flying Ant Day is still ongoing as people are still seeing swarms of flying ants across the country.
One person took to Twitter to say: “Morning Twitterverse! Another hot one! I’ve had an infestation of flying ants and red ants in 2 rooms of my flat… not fun! They get in everywhere!!!”
Flying Ant Day doesn’t happen on a set day each year. However, it usually happens in July.
While the event is called Flying Ant Day, it often builds over several days before their numbers peak on one specific day. That means although many people saw flying ants yesterday, it could continue for several days.
In 2021 it happened quite late on August 6, while in 2020 the event took place in most parts of the country on July 12.
It usually happens in July because the weather is hot and dry, usually after some periods 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.”
What are the ideal conditions for Flying Ant Day?
Weather is the crucial factor when it comes to Flying Ant Day.
The Natural History museum states: “This annual swarming event usually occurs in July or August and coincides with a period of hot and humid weather. Winged ants appear at different times around the country and local weather conditions are critical for the coordination of swarming activity.”
According to the Royal Society of Biology, flying ants usually appear when wind speeds are less than 6.3 metres per second and temperatures are above 13C. Ants usually fly when it’s calm and warm.
As we’re currently in the middle of a heatwave, it makes sense that the flying ants are taking to the skies.
Should you try to get rid of the flying ants?
Flying Ants aren’t harmful to you. According to the RSB, the best thing is to leave them alone if they appear in your garden because they will usually fly off within a few hours.
However, flying ants are actually known for biting people.
The NHS website says bites and stings are “generally harmless, although you’ll probably feel a nip.”
The best thing to do if you have a flying ant infestation in your house is to use sticky tape to catch them.