Millions of flying ants picked up on radar and could swarm Wembley during Euro 2020 final

Millions of flying ants have been detected over London and southeast England ahead of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. The match between England and Italy may just take place during a breeding frenzy for the airborne insects. Mating can take place any time conditions are right from June to September, but the flying ants tend to take to the skies all at once.

It is a little understood phenomenon, but researchers say the weather is a major factor. The Met Office released a radar image that appeared to show a very soggy day down south, contrary to what was forecast. But the pulsating blue cloud on the image was not indicative of cloud cover, it was swarms upon swarms of flying ants buzzing over the capital and home counties.

Adam Hart, professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire and a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, told Sky News that Friday’s swarms were only a taste of what is to come during the mating period for this year’s ants. He said: “If conditions are right on Sunday there may be more than three lions on shirts at Wembley and all around the country.” A survey of flying ants is being conducted by BioDAR, a research project that monitors insect biodiversity.

Members of the public are asked to report sightings of flying ants in order to better researchers’ understanding of their mating behaviour.

Whether the ants will disrupt the final on Sunday remains to be seen, but it is not unheard of for their nuptials to cause mayhem at sporting events.

Players at Wimbledon have before had to swat away flying ants while on the court, with the major tennis internationals always falling in the potential mating period.