Scientists attempt to count flying ant swarms

Scientists are attempting to locate Britain's flying ant swarms as they populate different counties during mating flights.

Published: July 6th, 2012 at 11:49 am


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Scientists are attempting to locate Britain’s flying ant swarms as they populate different counties during mating flights.

The Society of Biology is trying to understand why swarms of the insects appear all over the country at the same time.

During the summer months, the males and potential queens are the winged ants commonly seen across the country, as the virgin queens mate with the males before losing their wings and attempting to found a new colony.

Dr Mark Downs, the chief executive of the Society of Biology, describes the importance of synchronization between nests:

‘The flying ants won’t survive very long and need to maximize the chances of meeting ants from other colonies to mate with. But how do they do it?’

The details of the ants’ behavior remains a mystery, but scientists are hoping the survey will shed some light on the subject, by charting the appearance of ants between July and August.

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Flying-ant spotters are being asked to submit sightings throughout July and August to the Society of Biology’s website.

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