Winged ants. Ants with wings. Flying ants. Whatever you want to call them, the time of year has arrived. Flying ants are coming to a town near you. You have been warned! Although maybe not today seeing as its raining…
The other day I spotted the first of the flying ants, lining the pavement on the way to get lunch. Then when I got home I decided to make the most of the last ray of sunshine and sit out in the garden. Looking down at my incredibly dry lawn I noticed a great deal of movement. You remember that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when they find the secret passage in that palace, they have to walk along a veritable carpet of bugs….ok, so my lawn was not quite so bad….but you get my point – they were everywhere! (Great, not only do I have lots of non winged ants in my garden, now i have this lot as well – what luck!)
Honestly this flying ant phenomenon is not a major thing to worry about, except of course if you happen to end up in the centre of a major swarm….I imagine that could be somewhat distressing.
The flying ants you may happen to see are the sexually active male and female black garden ants performing, what is termed, their “nuptial flight” (yes, very public for such a private affair!) before they mate. They are apparently waiting for the perfect weather conditions, which sets them off flying. Now, I am not exactly sure what that is (it has been very warm and humid recently), but having spotted loads of them yesterday still just crawling along the ground (no Superman antics just yet!), I reckon we are pretty close to witnessing these big swarms, which can last all day.
One thing we do need to be aware of is that black garden ants can bite people. So, you should take extra care to avoid flying ants, especially if you know you have allergic reaction to bites. I suppose if you do see them heading in your direction, best to get indoors and shut all the windows and doors.
I remember loads of reports on the radio around this time last year about people seeing these mega swarms of flying ants – I did not see any – but having so many in my garden, I may well be treated to the spectacle this year. It could be worse… at least we are not facing a swarm of locusts. Apparently there was a huge swarm of locusts in Africa in 2004, which cost $400m just to get rid of the pest, and this did not included money lost to destroyed crops!
Anyway, if you see any of these flying ants, I would be interested to hear where you were and what happened, I will of course update you on the flying ants situation in my own garden.