Swarm of flying ants so large it can be seen from space spotted over London and the south coast

Met Office radar image of flying ants over London and the south coast Credit: Met Office

A swarm of flying ants so large it can be seen from space has been spotted over parts of London the south-east coast. The Met Office’s weather radar picked up the cloud of ants, around 50 miles wide, over Kent and Sussex. Smaller swarms can be seen over London.

A spokesman at the Met Office said there are likely “thousands” of ants within the swarm.

It’s not unusual for larger swarms to be picked up. A similar thing happened almost exactly a year ago on flying ant day. On days like today, when it is sunny, the radar detects the swam but we are able to see they are not the same shape as water droplets, and in fact look more insect-like.

Met Office
Flying ants seen on the grass at Wimbledon
  • Flying ant day happens when males and new queens leave the nest to mate, with many ant colonies doing so on the same day

  • According to the Royal Society of Biology, there is not always one flying ant day, but as many as 96% of days between June and September flying ants are spotted.