Have you been caught up in a swarm of flying ants this summer? And is there really a special ‘flying ant day’? Read on to discover more…

1. Flying ants are just normal ants – with wings!

The ants we’re most used to seeing are female black garden ants, marching around collecting food. But during summer, winged males and new queens of the same species take flight! 

2. They fly to set up new ant colonies

The ants take to the skies so that queens can mate with males from different colonies, and set up new nests of their own. 

3. Flying ants only swarm during hot summer weather

For a swarm of ants to occur, conditions must be just right – they’re usually triggered by hot and humid weather in July or August. 

4. ‘Flying ant day’ is a myth

Because so many ants appear in the same place at the same time, the phenomenon is often known as ‘flying ant day’ – but it’s really more of a short flying ant season. Depending on weather, the winged insects may appear in different parts of the country any time between June and September. 

5. There’s safety in numbers

The reason the ants appear in such big numbers is that it helps protects them from predators. Flying all together all at once also gives them a much better chance of finding mates.

6. They’re harmless

These flying beasties might be super annoying, but they won’t hurt you. Plus they provide loads of extra food for hungry birds!

7. Tennis stars hate them!

In 2018, flying ants invaded the court at Wimbledon, distracting tennis players and making news headlines around the world!

8. Female flying ants are bigger than males

Brave enough to take a closer look? You’ll see that some of the winged ants are much larger than others. The bigger ones are the queens – they’re up to 15mm in length.

9. Queens bite their own wings off!

After mating, queens chew off their wings and crawl around looking for a place to dig a new nest. Look out for their discarded wings on the floor!

10. Flying ants are also called alates 

Alates is the name given to the winged form of many insects.

Fascinated by insects? Download our FREE insect safari primary resource and go on a bug adventure in your own garden!

Want to know more?

Ants are one of the world’s strongest creatures! Head to our amazing ant facts for the lowdown!

Plus, check out our cool bug facts, and discover why ladybirds ooze yellow goo from their legs!

Picture credit: GettyImages-464197765 

Have you seen any flying ants this summer? Leave a comment below!

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  • Lucy

    weird stuff!

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