Have you spotted any flying ants this year? 

In what is dubbed as Flying Ant Day, millions of the critters take to the sky in an annual swaming event to create new colonies.

The Natural History Museum said the winged ants appear at different times around the country and local weather conditions are critical for the coordination of swarming activity.

The Met Office has issued a “forecast” which warned millions of flying ants are taking flight this weekend.

Over roughly three months each summer, weather conditions are ideal for the insects to mate while in flight around England.

On Friday when the Met Office tweeted weather radar images that showed, as well as rain clouds, vast swarms of flying ants around London.

“Our radar is picking up more than just #rain this morning – it’s actually insects!” the Met Office said.

Brentwood Live:

“Whilst there are a few rain showers, many of the echoes are in fact insects.”

In the wake of the image, insect experts have said the ants could cause annoyances for players and spectators alike at the Euro 2020 final, while they would also likely make an appearance on centre court for men’s Wimbledon final.

Adam Hart, professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire and a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, told Sky News the swarms signalled the beginning of this year’s flying ant season.

Professor Hart added: “If conditions are right on Sunday there may be more than three lions on shirts at Wembley and all around the country.”

Why is Flying Ant Day a thing?

Flying Ant Day is scientifically referred to as nuptial flight, the phenomena where virgin queens mate with males before starting new colonies.

For humans this basically means a large quantity of ants whizzing around. 

The natural event has been described as "early Christmas" for seagulls, who enjoy feasting on the insects.

While it has been dubbed 'Flying Ant Day', a project by the Royal Society of Biology found that the widely held idea is actually a misconception.

They found rather than a single day, it is more of a season. 

Brentwood Live:

Swaming is triggered by the weather and tends to happen in July or August.

The study discovered that ants only flew on days when it was warm, not windy and conditions had improved compared to the previous day.

Why do ants sprout wings?

A new queen ant needs to leave the colony where she is born to found a new one. She also needs to mate. So, she leaves her nest with a number of flying male worker ants.

According to the Royal Society of Biology, the large numbers of flying ants which appear in a short space of time increase the chance of reproduction, because there is a very high chance a queen will encounter a male from another nest.

Then, to check he's worthy. she flies away from him, performing acrobatics to test his abilities to catch her.

When he does they mate in mid-air. This kills the male ant.

The Queen then lands to find somewhere to start a new colony. She loses her wings after just one day.