Mon, 13 Jul 2020
Flying ants in Boxford
MANY people across West Berkshire experienced 'Flying Ant Day' this weekend, but the flying ant season lasts from late June to September, although peak time tends to be mid to late July.
Flying ants often seem to appear on the same day in different locations in the UK – and so it is known as flying ant day.
However, a citizen science project, the Flying Ant Survey, carried out by the Royal Society of Biology found that there is not actually one day where these ants all appear all at once, but that, depending on weather conditions, the ants can start emerging and flying at almost any point during the summer months, and won't all necessarily appear only on one day either.
The survey started in 2012 and for three years Professor Adam Hart from The University of Gloucestershire and the Royal Society of Biology ran an annual online Flying Ant Survey to find out where and when people were seeing flying ants. The survey found that there is often not just one flying ant day, but on as many as 96% of days between the start of June and the start of September flying ants are spotted.
Another finding from the survey was that the frequency in which the flying ants appear changes each year and is dependent on the weather.It also found that colonies don't exhibit any significant geographical co-ordination - one garden may see flying ants on one day, with neighbours seeing them weeks or even months later.
What is important is the weather - flying ants will only emerge if it is warmer than 13C and when wind speeds are less than 6.3 metres per second. During the course of the study, every day in the UK summer that had a mean temperature above 25°C had ants flying somewhere.
Flying ants occur when males and new queens leave the nest to mate, with many ant colonies doing so on the same day when the conditions are just right.
Flying ants are not harmful, so if some emerge in your garden or elsewhere it’s best to leave them alone as they’ll disappear once they fly off within a few hours. Find out more on the Royal Society of Biology website www.rsb.org.uk
Tweeting from his home in Boxford yesterday, Sunday, Chris Burch spotted a colony of flying ants in his garden.
Mr Burch also has memories of when he worked at the outdoor pool in Hungerford: "One year, 1992, and so many came out of the ground we had to get everyone out of the pool and net it. The pool has a concrete surround and perfect was for ants."