How Flying Ant Day Brought London To Its Knees
Stay safe out there, people.
Happy Flying Ant Day!
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! SAVE YOURSELVES!
THEY'RE IN YOUR HAIR.
It is like a disaster movie, but set in suburban London.
Even pictures of sunsets on Instagram aren't safe.
People have been taking the appropriate precautions.
And preparing for the worst.
Flying Ant Day has interfered with people's WASHING. Is nothing safe?
Some people were taking no prisoners.
They have been described as "flying devils".
But for some, Flying Ant Day isn't what it used to be.
Some people didn't even get sent a Flying Ant Day card :-(
But some people celebrated despite the carnage. A kind of Blitz spirit.
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.