Report your flying ant day records!
Despite the rain, one of the British summer’s greatest spectacles has arrived: the emergence of flying ants. The Society of Biology has received over a thousand reports of flying ants, and is calling for people to report sightings of ant mating flights.
Dr Adam Hart, an ecologist and insect expert at the University of Gloucestershire, is working with the Society of Biology on the survey. He says: “After such a wet summer it’s wonderful to see all these flying ant reports coming in, interestingly at a very similar time to last year. We expect flying ant day to be different around the country, and we’re really interested to learn more about this.”
We also hope to learn how synchronised the emergence of flying ants is across the UK: is flying ant day the same everywhere? It is important that the flights are synchronised between nests, because the flying ants won’t survive very long and need to maximise the chances of meeting ants from other colonies to mate with. It is fascinating to study how they manage to do this. Learn more.
Despite its size, the black garden ant has a huge impact on our countryside, from improving soil to pollination and pest control. They are also important as food; many people are alerted to the presence of flying ants by the sound of feasting gulls.
As well as submitting records, anyone who takes photos of flying ants can share them by emailing Christina Catlin-Groves (email@example.com). Pictures and experiences can also be shared on Twitter using the hashtag #flyingantsurvey, and photos tagged ‘flyingantsurvey’ on Flickr will be uploaded to our Flickr group.
Dr Mark Downs says: “We could never collect this kind of data without the help of hundreds of amateur recorders. Thank you to everyone who has taken part.”
The results of the survey will be presented during the first ever Biology Week, 13th-19th October. Events around the country will celebrate Biology Week, from a day of hands-on science in Cambridge to a debate about whether we should save the panda.