Depending on where you live, you may have had thousands of visitors recently – unwelcome, small, winged visitors with six legs.
Yes, it was that time of year again – National Flying Ant Day.
In the UK, billions of flying ants swarm out of their borrows and nests in July and head off in search of a mate. They create havoc at picnics, cause grown men and women to run screaming down the street, and even disrupted the tennis at Wimbledon this year.
Although nobody wants a flying ant in their strawberries and cream – particularly when the dessert has cost a small fortune at the nation’s premier tennis event – the insects are in fact harmless and there is really no need to panic.
Do they sting?
According to Rentokil, flying ants may occasionally bite or sting, depending on the species; however, this is highly unlikely. They do not usually prove a problem unless they are inside your house.
The flying ants are in fact just doing what comes naturally – looking for a mate. Every year, over a couple of warm and dry July days, the insects swarm out of their homes and fly off in search of a partner.
Many thousands of them die without fulfilling their quest, but enough of them find a mate and then a place to establish a new colony. This ensures the species continues into the next generation.
How to stop them
On the way, however, they can and do create inconvenience in the human world. What can you do to stop them being a nuisance?
The best piece of advice during National Flying Ant Day is to keep your doors and windows shut, even if it is hot inside – as it undoubtedly will be. This will stop the ants entering your home.
If you have old and draughty windows, you may want to get new windows and doors in Dublin or elsewhere from a company such as http://www.keanewindows.ie/ so that you can keep the pesky insects out next year.
If they do make it inside your house, you can sit it out until they leave or die; alternatively, if the problem is particularly bad, you may have to call in the pest control experts.
If you have to go outside while they are swarming, try not to step on them.