FLYING ants are set to plague Brits all summer after swarms of them ruined the hottest day of the year.
The critters bombarded BBQs and picnics over the weekend as temperatures soared to 32C – and an expert has warned they will be around for weeks.
A swarm of flying antsCredit: Alamy
A tropical blast from the Atlantic has thrust the UK into the furnace – and brought a “mass outpouring” of bugs along with it.
Huge clouds of flying ants took over British skies on Sunday as the UK recorded its hottest day of the year so far.
Both England and Wales saw record-breaking temperatures on Sunday, with 31.6C recorded at London’s Heathrow and 30.2C in Cardiff.
Sunseekers flocked to beaches, parks and back gardens to enjoy the warm weather – but many were disrupted by flying ants.
Videos show hundreds of the pesky pests swarming lawns, bins and cracks in the ground while other clips show the bugs filling the sky as Brits tried to relax in the sun.
The winged ants are often said to surface on Flying Ant Day, which usually occurs when there is a spell of wet weather followed by hot and humid conditions.
But Professor Adam Hart, of the University of Gloucestershire and Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, has warned we can expect many more Flying Ant Days to come as the heatwave continues.
MORE SWARMS TO COME
He told The Sun Online: “Although we call it Flying Ant Day, you might see several Flying Ant Days over the summer, and different parts of the country have flights at different times.
“Our research shows that if the summer is warm and relatively dry there are peaks in flying ants every two weeks or so until the end of August.
“We actually got reports of them somewhere in the UK every single day when the temperature was over 25 degrees in 2013.”
He continued: “Flying ants are the new queens and males that ant nests produce every summer.
“They fly out in huge numbers, mate in the air and then the queens try to start a new nest whilst avoiding gulls.
“They like to fly when it is warm, dry and when there isn’t too much wind.”
Our research shows that if the summer is warm and relatively dry there are peaks in flying ants every two weeks or so until the end of August.
Professor Adam Hart
A horde of flying ants was so big last week it was detected on the Met Office radar.
It picked up the insects over London during the Wimbledon and the Euro 2020 finals.
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.
“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.”
He recommended Brits clean up litter, keep things sealed and watch for ant nests.
Rentokil also suggested cleaning up anything “sticky” and not leaving the “washing up to fester”.
“Also, keep surfaces clean and clear of food, so there isn’t anything to attract them,” a spokesperson added.
But Professor Hart urged Brits to remember how important ants are to the environment.
He said: “Ants are incredibly important in the ecosystem, and a bit of annoyance every so often is a small price to pay for all the pest control, nutrient cycling and soil aeration they do.”
They are also pretty harmless to humans and rarely bite. However, if they do, the NHS says you may feel a nip but they are nothing to worry about.
The Met Office caught millions of ants on its radar last weekCredit: Met Office