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Flying ant swarm over Kent, London and East Sussex spotted from Space

A huge swarm of flying ants spotted over the south coast was so dense it could be seen from space.

The Met Office says its radar was picking up something that looked like rain over Kent, London and East Sussex earlier today.

A cloud of flying ants has shown up on a weather radar. Picture: @RosalindinKent/Twitter
A cloud of flying ants has shown up on a weather radar. Picture: @RosalindinKent/Twitter

However, on further inspection they revealed that the massive cloud is in fact a swarm of thousands of ants.

The airborne arthropods are common in large numbers around this time of year as part of their "nuptial flight" phase of reproduction.

In fact, an identical event happened over South-Eastern skies exactly a year ago today.

And the insects have been plaguing Kent residents for much of the summer this year, frustrating gardeners and people relaxing in the sun.

Last week, 'flying ant day' trended on twitter when dozens of people across the county shared pictures of the pests on the ground and in the air.

Residents had particular problems with the swarms in north Kent areas including Rainham and Gravesend.

But a study of the insects found they fly somewhere in the UK on 96% of days between the start of June and the start of September.

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

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

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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