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17 July 2020 22:30

Ant Nuptial flight Nuptial flight

Swarm of flying ants so large it can be seen from space spotted over south coast

A swarm of flying ants so large it can be seen from space has been spotted over the south-east coast. The Met Office's weather radar picked up the cloud of ants, around 50 miles wide, over Kent and Sussex. The Met Office tweeted a video of the swarm and said: "It's not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise… 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 pic.twitter.com/aMF6RxR943 — Met Office (@metoffice) July 17, 2020 According to the Royal Society of Biology, there is not always one flying ant day, but as many as 96% of days between June and September flying ants are spotted.

Flying ants in Swanmore. The insects have been seen in Swanmore and have also been causing havoc with Met Office radars across the area. In a post on Twitter, the forecasters said: 'It's not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise... 'The radar is actually picking up a swarm of flying ants across the southeast.' Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Sign up Thanks for signing up! Explaining why swarms of flying ants can occur on summer days, the Met Office added: 'During the summer ants can take to the skies in a mass emergence usually on warm, humid and windless days.' According to the Natural History Museum, flying ants are known as alates.

On its website the museum says: 'In the UK, particularly in urban areas, the winged insects you see are almost always the sexually mature queens and males of the black garden ant, Lasius niger. 'Winged ants appear at different times around the country and local weather conditions are critical for the coordination of swarming activity. 'A study found that ants only flew on days when it was warm, not windy and conditions had improved compared to the previous day.' It has been a warm and sunny day in Portsmouth, with the Met Office reporting highs of 24C in the city. Have you spotted the flying ants? Thank you for reading this story.

ES News email The latest headlines in your inbox twice a day Monday - Friday plus breaking news updates Enter your email address Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid You already have an account. Please log in Register with your social account or click here to log in I would like to receive lunchtime headlines Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts, by email Update newsletter preferences A gigantic swarm of flying ants so large it can be seen from space has been spotted over Britain's south-east coast. The Met Office's weather radar picked up on the ominous cloud of ants, which is thought to be around 50 miles wide, hovering over Kent and Sussex. Smaller swarms can also be seen gathered over London. The Met Office shared radar footage of the swarms on Twitter and said: "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 weather service meanwhile said there were likely "thousands" of ants within the swarm. He added: "It's not unusual for larger swarms to be picked up. "On days like today, when it is sunny, the radar detects the swam but we are able to see they are not the same shape as water droplets, and in fact look more insect-like." Flying ant day occurs when males and new queens leave the nest to mate, with many ant colonies doing so on the same day. According to the Royal Society of Biology, there is not always one flying ant day, but as many as 96 per cent of days between June and September flying ants are spotted. News, views and top stories in your inbox. Don't miss our must-read newsletter Sign up Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email A swarm of flying ants on the southern coast have been spotted all the way from space and mistaken for rain. A Met Office weather forecast revealed that what looked like a rain cloud moving across the south earlier today was in fact a huge swarm. The insects, which took to the sky for their annual event to form new colonies, were picked up by the forecasting radar. The Met Office confessed on Twitter: "It's not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise... "The radar is actually picking up a swarm of flying ants across the southeast. "During the summer ants can take to the skies in a mass emergence usually on warm, humid and windless days." Samuel commented: "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." "Still got dead ones all over my balcony from flying ant day. It comes just four days after the yearly Flying Ant Day - which sees males and new virgin Queens leave their nest to mate. Scientifically referred to as nuptial flight, the phenomena revolves around virgin queens mating with males before starting new colonies. (Image: Met Office/Triangle News) While humans may not be overly keen on the winged critters, the natural event is like an early Christmas for seagulls. The coastal birds take a day off from stealing beach-goers' chips to swallow as many flying ants as possible. The insects can make the gulls 'drunk' and unable to walk or fly. Although ants do tend to take off on the same day, there is some variance across the country. If an area has a period of particularly hot, still and humid weather then its ants may take off sooner than others. The Biblical plague of ants, around 50 miles wide, was picked up by the Met Office's weather radar over Kent and Sussex. A smaller swarm was seen over London. Tweeting a video of the swarm, the Met Office said: "It's not raining in London, Kent or Sussex but our radar says otherwise… "The radar is actually kicking 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 weather service suggested there were likely to be "thousands" of ants within the swarm. Flying ants descend upon England Giant swarm of flying ants flock in London He said: "It's not unusual for larger swarms to be picked up. "A similar thing happened almost exactly a year ago on flying ant day. "On days like today, 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." The annual emergence of the flying ants occurs when male and new queens leave the nest to mate. READ MORE: Flying ants: How to get rid of flying ants - Six simple tips However, a male ant dies as soon as it has successfully mated, after which the female ant will then chew off her own wings before nesting. While flying ants can be irritating when they descend in their masses, the creatures do not pose much danger to people in the UK. But for those hoping for a nice picnic or barbecue this week, the good news is flying ants will start to disappear within the next few days. Flying ants: Weather radar mistakes flying ant SWARMS for rain [INSIGHT] Flying ants: Do flying ants bite? Flying ants SWARM: Why are there so many flying ants right now? Flying ant cloud spotted from space by Met Office According to the Royal Society of Biology, there is no one set flying ant day but instead around 96 percent of days between June and September will see the bugs. Many saw the humour of a Biblical swarm of bugs being spotted in England. One tweeted: "Met Office is reporting that a swarm of flying ants is being picked up on radar over London, Kent and Sussex. So 2020." Another giant swarm of flying ants were spotted on satellite weather radars on Sunday, which is officially deemed Flying Ant Day. Flying ants on a curtain in England