Attack of the Flying Ants
Reports of insects swarming throughout Ealing
Every year the insects gather in huge numbers when the queen ants emerge to start a colony.
'Flying ant day' has been noted throughout the borough and the social network site twitter has been inundated with ant day 'tweets'.
A certain type of weather is required for the event to occur. It needs to be hot, moist and muggy - just like today.
It also needs to be windy enough to spread the insects out a bit, but not enough to damage their fragile wings.
Once the necessary conditions are met, all the colonies in a local area take flight at once to reduce risk from predators.
The insects are harmless, apart from an occasional bite, Dave Clark, the head keeper at London Zoo's entomology division, said that the ants bring benefits too -- they pollinate flowers and feed on other insects which cause damage to plants.
Following the swarming, any dead ants are eaten up quickly by birds.
19 July 2010