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Flying Ant Day
Photo: Time Out

Flying Ant Day might be coming to London sooner than you think

Brace yourself for the annual plague of tiny winged irritants

Written by
Joe Mackertich

Annual events that should be recognised as significant: the day when Frank's Cafe rooftop bar reopens every year; the day Pret begin stocking their Christmas Lunch sarnies; when Tesco switch from 'strawberries' to 'super sweet strawberries'; and, yes, Flying Ant Day.

Flying Ant Day, hereby referred to as FAD, is as much a part of summer as ice cream and beer gardens. That one morning every year, when you wake up, stretch, leave the house and immediately have your eyes and mouth filled with thousands of writhing ants.

In years gone by FAD would take place at the very end of July or often at the beginning of August. Recently though it's been closer to the middle of July. This year it could be earlier still

FAD is the one day of the year when queen ants come out from their nests, surrounded by their male underlings to form new colonies and do some mating (do ants 'mate'?). Look carefully and you'll notice that some of the flying ants are larger than the others. These are the queens.

The nuptial flights (which is technical term) are an unpredictable event however, triggered, as they are, by weather conditions and humidity. It's that second one that could prove key to causing a super-early FAD this year. No one knows for sure, but it's generally believed that queens wait for a period of wet weather, followed immediately by hot, humid weather, before flying off. And, as you may have noticed, it has been very wet recently. And apparently a heat wave is on its way

You have been warned. The day you notice the weather turning, make doubly sure you leave the house with your PPE. That mask is going to come in handy.

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