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Kent's flying ant invasion earlier than ever due to record temperatures, School of Biology and University of Gloucestershire report reveals

By Ed McConnell

If you have found yourself swatting away unwelcome visitors in Kent earlier than expected this year, you can blame it on the weather.

An unusually early appearance of huge numbers of flying ants across the county is down to the warmer than average temperatures, a report has revealed.

A flying ant survey, which has run since 2012, has shown the premature appearance of the annual annoyances is in keeping with rising temperatures.

Flying ants pictured by Sarah Jane Hudson in High Street, Canterbury

Since December, temperatures have been warmer than average throughout the country which has led to the earlier-than-usual appearance of the insects.

Lat year, the survey showed peak time for the winged nuisances was August 1, but this year people have been reporting encountering them as early as June.

Flying ant experts have revealed their findings have dispelled the myth of a single flying ant day.

Prof Adam Hart, from the University of Gloucestershire, said: "Last year, we had a flying ant month, and it will be interesting to see whether there is another long flying ant season this year."

Flying ant day is an annual mating ritual, when new queens leave the nest to mate.

A queen flying ant, which is the subject of a great deal of attention during flying ant day

While many victims of the plague may not share Prof Hart's enthusiasm, it is worth remembering the important role the insects play.

Dr Rebecca Nesbit, from the Society of Biology, said: "Ants eat pests, pollinate wild berries, spread seeds and improve soil fertility. It is amazing how many roles these tiny insects play in the health of our countryside."

Dr Nesbit is urging people who spot the ants to report the time, date and location at www.societyofbiology.org/flyingantsurvey.

Have you seen an invasion of flying ants in Kent? Leave a comment below.

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