50-mile swarm of flying ants spotted from space over UK

A 50-mile-wide swarm of flying ants has been making its way over the UK – and it’s so huge that it has been spotted from space.

The enormous cloud of insects was picked up by the Met Office’s weather radar over Kent and Sussex, on England’s southeast coast.

The weather service said smaller swarms could be seen over London.

A Met Office satellite image of flying ant swarms over England
A Met Office satellite image of flying ant swarms over England

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,” he said.

“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 swam but we are able to see they are not the same shape as water droplets, and in fact look more insect-like.”

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% of the days between June and September.


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