A pest control expert has told how Britons can prevent their homes from being invaded by flying ants.
Stuart Halliday, 42, owner of Kill and Cure Pest Control, has warned people to watch out for the tell-tale signs that their home is infested.
Flying Ant Day usually occurs when a period of wet weather is followed by warm, humid weather.
Although it is called a day, the mating ritual can last several weeks in high summer.
By the end, billions of ants will have taken to the skies.
Last year, Flying Ant Day was celebrated on July 12 in most parts of the country.
Now Stuart has explained that he believes ant season is already well underway in the UK.
He told The Sun: “July and August is when you get your flying ants.
“They are coming out at the moment because they are breeding adults. The flightless ones are the queens and the small flightless ones are the males.
“Once the males mate with the queens, they die and once the queens are impregnated, they chew off their wings.
“If you see really big ants walking around on the ground, those are the queens and from then on they will make the next nest for next year.
“They usually show up around strange weather conditions. Really hot, thunderstorms, high pressure – very much like the weather we have now.”
He has now shared the three things Brits should do to protect their property from the sneaky critters.
Stuart has warned that once ants find a place they like, they will come back every year.
He explained: “They like to nest in sandy soil, so the perfect place for them is if you have a stone-paved driveway as it is based on sand.
“They love to dig under your driveways. They love it.
“Soon your drive may begin to sink – or they will go through the mortar of your property to find warmth.
“Once they find a home, they come back every year, so it’s very important that you do something about it.
Stuart has talked about the best way to get rid of the critters – ant powder.
He said: “They make their nests under cement slabs, rocks and paving stones. Cone-shaped mounds of dirt in cracks and joints mark hive entrances.”
“If you see this happening, you should immediately put some ant powder in that hole.
What are flying ants?
The most common type of flying ant is the black garden variety (the Lasius niger), whose nests have a single queen and anything from 5,000 to 15,000 workers.
Workers are the ants you see most of the year gathering food.
While workers, which are all female, live for about a month, queens can live for more than 10 years.
They spend most of their lives in their nest – they only leave for the “nuptial flight” as immature queens to mate and eventually found their own colony.
After mating, the queens lose their wings – and those pesky bigger ants you see walking around alone are actually new queens hunting for a place to set up their nests.
Flying ants are usually harmless to humans, but they do have a strange effect on seagulls that can appear drunk after eating a few ants due to formic acid that they expel.
“You have to get it done before they send the new queens. If you let it, each queen will become another nest next year.
“If you see them coming up and you see a pile of sand, put ant powder in that hole right away and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
“You want to squirt it in and stick it in until they stop.”
Stuart says ants will enter your house if it has rotten wood in it – so to prevent the bugs, make sure your house is nice and dry.
He said, “You can also get them in your house if you have rotten fabrics, say rotten floorboards from a leak or old rotten door frames from a leak – they can chew into that wood.
“I’m already being called home to tackle this – the Flying Ant season is well and truly underway.
“All you can do is try to prevent it.”