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Flying ant day: Swarms reported in gardens throughout Kent

Swarms of flying ants have been plaguing residents in Kent enjoying the Sunday sunshine.

The insects have been frustrating gardeners and people relaxing on what has been a warm and sunny afternoon.

Flying ants were spotted in Kent throughout the day. Picture: @RosalindinKent/Twitter
Flying ants were spotted in Kent throughout the day. Picture: @RosalindinKent/Twitter

Many have taken to social media with terms "flying ants" and "flying ant day" trending on Twitter throughout the day.

Pictures shared by dozens of people showed huge groups of the pests on the ground and in their air particularly in north Kent such as Rainham and Gravesend.

The critters are a common sight in gardens, parks and streets at this time of year – infamously last year there was a swarm so large it was even spotted from space and mistaken for rain by Met Office satellites.

The ants have been spotted throughout the day with them lingering in gardens for about an hour, according to some reports on social media.

But while there are many that find them pests, for others their presence today has been fascinating to watch.

The winged insects have been plaguing gardeners and people enjoying the Sunday sunshine throughout the day
The winged insects have been plaguing gardeners and people enjoying the Sunday sunshine throughout the day

Others say the winged insects have still been about into the evening.

Actor Laurance Fox even took to Twitter to comment on the natural phenomenon.

It is not unusual to see the flying ants in the summer as they embark on their 'nuptial flight' phase of their reproductive cycle to take advantage of the hotter and drier weather.

During this flight the young queen ants will mate with the strongest males before landing and starting their own colony in a new location.

But despite being coined as "flying ant day" the process often occurs during a three-week period at the height of summer.

Birds which eat the ants can also have a knock-on effect for coastal communities as seagulls feast on the insects.

They release formic acid which leaves birds appearing drunk and staggering into the roads which can cause problems for motorists.

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