Summer 2019 never ceases to amaze. At the end of June, residents of France, Germany and other European countries were faced with exhausting heat, due to which even had to close nuclear power plants. Then an even more unusual phenomenon was observed in the territory of Britain - radars of the meteorological service spotted a huge cloud in the sky, which, with careful examination, turned out to be a huge swarm of flying ants. It sounds like a scene from a horror movie, but in fact the formation of huge ant swarms is a fairly common occurrence. So where are they all flying?
A huge flock of ants was really visiblefrom space. The spot seen on satellite images, meteorologists first mistaken for a rain cloud. However, later it turned out that the tiny particles in the images are not raindrops, but the bodies of millions of insects. The black garden ants (Lasius niger) made by the so-called “mating flight” turned out to be creatures observed from space.
How ants breed
This flight is made by them every summer, approximatelylate July or early August. After a period of hot and humid weather, winged males and females soar into the sky, mate and are looking for a place to build new anthills. Usually, the first of the nests is taken by the males, who release substances into the air to attract females. With this substance they make them fly after them.
Flying ants !!!
Swarms of them flying into the sky in S Eng are being picked up as rain on the radar image this morning…!#flyingantday #flyingants ????#yuk pic.twitter.com/QGOcikqJFq
- Simon King (@SimonOKing) July 17, 2019</ p>
During this flight, the females gain stocksperm cells to produce offspring throughout their life. After completing the flight, they are looking for the most suitable place for the new anthill, shed their wings and dig the first chamber of the future nest. There they lay their eggs and start caring for them. Each sow has enough sperm stock to produce about 20,000 eggs for 15 years. By the way, females of this species of ants can live to 28 years old - these are the longest-lived insects in the world.
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How ants build an anthill
As a rule, the first ants in the nest are notstand out with special size and strength. However, they are the ones who start building and enlarging an anthill, as well as getting food and taking care of small insects. These "serving" individuals are called working ants, but in addition to them, winged females and males appear in the nests, which after a while again make a mating flight in order to continue the genus.
Female and working ants
Meteorologists noted that every yearant concentrations are getting bigger. However, this does not necessarily mean that their numbers are constantly growing. Most likely, the swarms of ants have always been large, just meteorological equipment, which every year becomes more accurate, begins to produce more detailed images with high detail.
Swarm of flying ants
Winged ants are not dangerous to humans and play an important role in nature. At a minimum, they are vital food for many bird species, and can also positively affect the soil.
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