A 50-mile-wide swarm of flying ants has been making its way over the UK – and it has been spotted from space due to the massive size, it was reported on Sunday.
The enormous cloud of ants was picked up by the Met Office’s weather radar over Kent and Sussex on England’s southeast coast, Sky News said in a report. The weather service said smaller swarms could also be seen over London.
A video was released by the Met Office, alongside a tweet saying: “It’s not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise.
“The radar is actually picking up a swarm of #flyingants across the southeast.
“During the summer ants can take to the skies in a mass emergence usually on warm, humid and windless days #flyingantday’.” A spokesman for the Met Office said there were likely to be “thousands” of ants within the swarm.
“It’s not unusual for larger swarms to be picked up,” Sky News quoted the spokesman as saying.
“A similar thing happened almost exactly a year ago on ‘Flying Ant Day’. On days when it is sunny, the radar detects the swarm but we are able to see they are not the same shape as water droplets, and in fact look more insect-like,” he added.
Large swarms of the insects appear – in what is widely known as “Flying Ant Day” – when males and new queens leave the nest to mate, with many ant colonies doing so on the same day.
The Royal Society of Biology points out there is not always one such day, with flying ants spotted on as many as 96 per cent of the days between June and September.