Here’s when Flying Ant Day takes place - and the reason why it happens

Friday, 31st July 2020, 3:31 pm
Updated Friday, 31st July 2020, 3:32 pm
Flying Ant Day takes place every year, with swarms of ants with wings congregating in large groups throughout the UK (Photo: Shutterstock)

Flying Ant Day takes place every year, with swarms of ants with wings congregating in large groups throughout the UK.

But what is Flying Ant Day and why does it happen?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are flying ants?

The Royal Society of Biology explains that the ants you see throughout most of the year are workers, who collect food for the colony.

Workers are all female and will be alive as adults for about a month.

However, “The flying ants you see once a year are males and young queens. Each year, normally in July or August, huge numbers of flying ants suddenly appear”, explains the Royal Society of Biology.

What is Flying Ant Day?

Flying Ant Day is an annual day which marks male and female ants sprouting wings and embarking on a "nuptial flight", seeking ants from other colonies to mate with.

Every year, huge flying ants appear on the same day in different locations in the UK.

Although the ants are harmless, and are unlikely to bite anyone, they may hang around for a number of weeks.

On Flying Ant Day, ants mate during flight, with males and young queens both having wings.

The Royal Society of Biology explains that a large number of flying ants appearing in a short space of time increases the chance of reproduction, as there is a very high chance a queen will encounter a male from another nest.

Once the males and young queens have mated, the queens try to start a new nest.

However, the queens lose their wings, so after a Flying Ant Day, you may see large ants walking around on their own.

These are usually new queens looking for somewhere to set up their nest.

When does Flying Ant Day take place?

Flying Ant Day usually takes place at the end of July or the beginning of August.

However, on Sunday 12 July 2020 many people across the UK noticed hundreds of flying ants in the sky.

Although earlier in the month than usual, some people pegged 12 July as this year’s Flying Ant Day.

Some ants can fly earlier in urban areas than rural areas, usually because temperatures generally tend to be warmer in urban settings.

Will the weather be hot and humid this weekend?

Not only does Flying Ant Day usually take place at the end of July or the beginning of August, which is this weekend, it also tends to coincide with a period of hot, humid weather.

The weather on Friday (31 July) will be sunny and hot throughout the day in most areas.

However, cloud will spread across parts of England later on in the day, bringing a risk of a few thunderstorms to parts of eastern and southern England.

Western UK will also turn cloudier with rain at times.

Friday evening will see a risk of thunderstorms for parts of England and perhaps for a few parts of Scotland, but it will be drier later.

Further west, there will be a few showers. It will also be another warm night in the east.

Saturday (1 August) will see sunny spells with a few showers, these mainly in the northwest, with much of England and Wales often dry. It will be less hot than Friday, but still warm in the southeast.

Sunday (2 August) will be unsettled with rain and showers expected in most places, but there will also be some decent dry and sunny spells in some areas.