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    Posted on Jul 3, 2014

    How Flying Ant Day Brought London To Its Knees

    Stay safe out there, people.

    Happy Flying Ant Day!

    Chronicler101 / iStock

    It's the day of the year when ants grow wings and start flying around everywhere. It happens on warm days around July and August and entire towns and cities are taken over by swarms of ants.

    For some people it was yesterday – but we're certainly in the peak 48-hour window of flying ants in London and the South-East.

    BBC should interrupt their TV broadcast across all channels to do a newsflash on Flying Ant Day

    Jody Smith@ToastMaster

    BBC should interrupt their TV broadcast across all channels to do a newsflash on Flying Ant Day

    10:35 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! SAVE YOURSELVES!

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

    THEY'RE IN YOUR HAIR.

    Flying ants are so adorable the way dozens of them will smash into your face and hair and down your throat and make you scream and scream.

    The_No_Show@The_No_Show

    Flying ants are so adorable the way dozens of them will smash into your face and hair and down your throat and make you scream and scream.

    6:46 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    It is like a disaster movie, but set in suburban London.

    Flying Ant Day is a Cloverfield situation for pale Britons

    Conan the Librarian@ChairmanBLAOW

    Flying Ant Day is a Cloverfield situation for pale Britons

    7:36 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Even pictures of sunsets on Instagram aren't safe.

    People have been taking the appropriate precautions.

    Not taking any chances this Flying Ant Day.

    @carrozo@carrozo

    Not taking any chances this Flying Ant Day.

    7:44 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    And preparing for the worst.

    I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords (thanks @MarianneLevy) #flyingantday #traditionaltweet #sugarcaves

    Becky Suter@Becky_Super

    I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords (thanks @MarianneLevy) #flyingantday #traditionaltweet #sugarcaves

    9:57 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Flying Ant Day has interfered with people's WASHING. Is nothing safe?

    I DETEST flying ant day!!! I hate it even more when I bring my washing in and three of the feckers are crawling around in my washing!!!

    Richard Stone@stoner_uk_80

    I DETEST flying ant day!!! I hate it even more when I bring my washing in and three of the feckers are crawling around in my washing!!!

    9:22 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Some people were taking no prisoners.

    Killed so many flying ants today, paused to think about the value of a life, then carried on killing. They were in my way.

    Alfa@AlfaMist

    Killed so many flying ants today, paused to think about the value of a life, then carried on killing. They were in my way.

    8:14 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Just been on a flying ant killing spree. Clumps of the buggers probably shagged out and dying all over our kitchen. #flyingantday

    Simon I'Anson@simonianson

    Just been on a flying ant killing spree. Clumps of the buggers probably shagged out and dying all over our kitchen. #flyingantday

    9:21 PM - 08 Aug 12ReplyRetweetFavorite

    They have been described as "flying devils".

    fucking flying ANTS, hate these fuckers. Aint seen these fuckers all year soon as the sun cums out these flying devils cum out ffs!

    Leng@Lengywasty

    fucking flying ANTS, hate these fuckers. Aint seen these fuckers all year soon as the sun cums out these flying devils cum out ffs!

    9:41 AM - 03 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    But for some, Flying Ant Day isn't what it used to be.

    I always liked Flying Ant Day as a child, but I'm sure it was less commercial.

    Hugo Rifkind@hugorifkind

    I always liked Flying Ant Day as a child, but I'm sure it was less commercial.

    6:23 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Flying Ant Day is just a hideous commercial exercise to make you buy more flying ants. #dontbefooled

    Pukkah Punjabi@PukkahPunjabi

    Flying Ant Day is just a hideous commercial exercise to make you buy more flying ants. #dontbefooled

    1:50 AM - 03 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Some people didn't even get sent a Flying Ant Day card :-(

    Yesterday was Flying Ant Day and nobody sent me a card. #sad

    John Russell@offthebellcurve

    Yesterday was Flying Ant Day and nobody sent me a card. #sad

    6:31 AM - 03 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    But some people celebrated despite the carnage. A kind of Blitz spirit.

    Everyone off out tonight on a massive fucking bender for flying ant day? Best day of the year. Best day of the year by a country mile.

    GusTheFox@GusTheFox

    Everyone off out tonight on a massive fucking bender for flying ant day? Best day of the year. Best day of the year by a country mile.

    6:34 PM - 02 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    But what is Flying Ant Day?

    Several insect species, including termites and some bees, take part in what's called nuptial flights – an important part of their reproductive cycle.

    The flying ants are a mixture of males and virgin queens taking the first step in founding a new colony. The ants take part in some "quick and violent mating" in the air during all this, which is necessary for the queen to successfully found a new colony, but also means the male flying ants die.

    The whole process is very precarious: the ants have to wait for clear weather – rain is a problem when you're a flying ant – and new queens have a very high failure rate when establishing a new colony, which is why a colony can send out huge numbers of queens in its lifetime.

    The queen's wings fall off once she's found somewhere to live, so the ants really do only fly around for a short time.

    So the next time you see flying ants, that's what's going on.

    And there isn't even a single Ant Day! That's a myth, according to a survey carried out every year.

    bbc.co.uk

    The Society of Biology used 6,000 ant sightings to show that swarms aren't as synchronised as they seem. Sightings tend to happen across the UK in July and August – invariably between 4PM and 6PM – but never on a single day.

    People have been recording the ant flight since 1707.

    Stay safe out there.

    Joan Collins hates flying ant day.

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