Flying Ant Survey
Ants, like the black garden ant (Lasius niger), generally live underground, but for a few days each year the young male and new queen ants take to the air to mate and find a new home. Once they have mated they drop to the ground, and the new queens unhook their wings and scurry underground - never to be seen above ground again for the rest of their lives - which can be up to 25 years!

But why do ants generally fly all at once, for only a few days per year?

We know that weather is a major factor, and in our project we want to find out two things:
1. What specific weather conditions are important for triggering 'flying ant day'?
2. Can flying ant swarms be seen on weather radar scans?

You are being invited to participate in a research study titled “When and where do ants fly?”. This study is part of a bigger project called BioDAR ( - where we are seeing if we can use weather radar data to monitor insect activity across the whole UK and Ireland - but to do this we need your help. Please let us know when and where you have seen these flying ants by filling in the short form below.

If you would like to submit more than one observation, either for a different day or for a different location, please respond by submitting a new form.

The purpose of this research study is to collect data about when and where ants are flying over the UK summer and will take you approximately 1 minute to complete. Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary.

We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, as with any online related activity, the risk of a breach is always possible. This survey is being conducted anonymously and we are not collecting any personal information therefore to the best of our ability your participation in this study will remain confidential, and only summary data will be published. Ethics Number: LTSBIO-034. Further information is available via the University of Leeds Privacy Notice:

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us by e-mail (
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Photo of a winged queen black garden ant (Lasius niger), resting on a green leaf.
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