It’s that time of year again and it could happen any day now.
Flying Ant Day.
You know what we mean, that one day in July or August where you go outside and suddenly have to flick a flying ant off your arm. Then another. Then untangle one from your hair and then another. And all before you’ve even walked down to the car.
Flying Ant Day occurs when the weather warms up and female ants, who have recently grown wings temporarily, launch into the air followed by hundreds or thousand of males. The young queens mate inflight before heading off by herself to find a good area to nest.
Amazingly, the male ants that fly are only born in order to mate with queens and die shortly after. These males don’t work in ant nests and are very much a one job bunch.
How do all ants know when to fly?
While we tend to call these ant swarming days, Flying Ant Day, there isn’t actually only one day a year. During July and August ants swarm on different days but once the nests in your garden have flown once, they won’t again until next year. So it seems like just one day.
How is Flying Ant Day good for my garden?
While flying ants might be a good reason to close the windows and shut the doors for us, it’s actually a time when birds are in their element. Birds like swallows, swifts and even seagulls are highly adept at catching airborne insects and that makes Flying Ant Day a perfect day to sit in the conservatory and watch your favourite garden birds feast.
How can I deal with them?
Simply put, ants don’t swarm often and this is really a once-a-year issue. While having ants inside the house isn’t good, having them flying in the garden is a vital feast for garden birds.
To protect yourself and nature on Flying Ant Day, simply keep insect screens or hanging fabric over open doors and windows – or close the windows and doors entirely.
Remember, for just this one day of inconvenience for you, your garden birds will be a joy to watch and will finish the day full of food.
IMPORTANT: While many websites advocate putting toxins like Borax or other insecticides onto or near ant nests, we DO NOT. What if a garden bird starts feasting on poisoned ants? It’s really just one day – let your birds feast safely and don’t put insecticides down for ants (unless inside the house).
Have you experienced Flying Ant Day already this year? Did you see your garden birds feasting? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!