Why Are There So Many Flying Ants?
Aug 04 in Pests
What are flying ants?
Flying ants are just normal ants with wings. Although they can be irritating, they are actually harmless. In the UK there are one quadrillion ants (that’s 16 zeros) – more than one million ants per person. Several species of ants are common in this country, and most of them fly and swarm. However, the species of flying ant we notice most frequently is the black garden ant. The male ants are black and measure 4-5mm long; the queens can be up to 15mm long. They live in tunnels, build their nests in the ground, and don’t tend to invade properties.
Why do they swarm every year?
On the same day during the summer, all the flying ants in an area will leave their nests and swarm to reproduce and set up new colonies. The young, winged queen ants and winged males from multiple colonies of the same species can fly and swarm. When they’re airborne the queens mate with the males. After mating the male dies and the queen chews off her wings then crawls around looking for a place to dig a nest and start a new colony.
The reason so many ants swarm together all at once is that it helps protects them from predators (mainly birds) and gives them a much better chance of finding mates.
When do they swarm?
Flying ants only appear on one day during the summer months when the conditions are optimal. This is usually when it’s hot and humid in July or August. However, they don’t swarm throughout the country on the same day as the conditions vary – ‘flying ant day’ is just a myth. The swarms only last for a couple of days and will usually disappear on their own.
Why it’s worth getting rid of flying ants
Flying ants mean the start of a new colony. Getting rid of ants before they swarm or as they start to swarm will limit the possibility of future ant problems as well as eradicating an existing one.
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