Flying Ant Day 2020 – Swarms of millions of insects so big they show up as rain on weather radar

FLYING ants appeared as rainfall on weather radars over the weekend as millions of the insects swarmed Britain during the humid weather.

Each year, the winged insets take to the skies and descend on cities and towns as males and queens leave their nest in search of a mate.

Warm temperatures during summer mean many of the ant colonies take flight on the same day, according to the Royal Society of Biology.

However this weekend, the flying ants were out in such huge numbers that they showed up on weather radars.

The weather systems mistook their swarms for rain – as they lashed out in parks and gardens across the UK.

Meteorologist Laura Toibin explained on ITV: "It was flying ant day and I have actually got a radar showing flying ants.

"It looks like rain on the radar but this little area here…where millions and millions of flying ants were picked up by the radar so it looks like it was rain.


"So a radar works by a signal going out hitting a raindrop coming back and telling you it’s raining.

"So the signal went out, hit all of the flying ants, and came back again to show the area."

Flying ants usually take off when the weather is warm, humid, and wind speeds are low, allowing for a smoother flight.

Flying Ant Day usually takes place in July or August, and is when the queen ants emerge from the nest to begin their nuptial flight with the male ants usually flying alongside.

Birds, especially seagulls, spot the insects and flock out in huge numbers in a bid to feast on the flying ants

Each year the winged pests causes havoc, with clouds of the insects picked up on satellites and even disrupting Wimbledon one year.

A change in temperature encourages the ants to fly and breed in mid-air each year.

The day marks the start of the insects' mating season, and lasts for much longer than a day – usually around two weeks.

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