Why Residents of This UK Town Might See Drunk Seagulls


Residents of Bristol in the UK have noticed their gardens crawling with insects as swarms of flying ants emerge from their nests. Flying Ant Day happens every summer and sees young queen ants and males find each other to mate mid-flight, and the timing can differ depending on where in the country the colonies are. Experts say weather is the crucial factor in enticing the insects from the comfort of their nests, usually at some point between July and September. As well as the spectacle of thousands of insects buzzing about the city, Flying Ant Day can lead to bizarre behavior in seagulls, which some people have likened to acting drunk. The swarming events provide a vital food resource for many species of birds, and seagulls can often be seen in a feeding frenzy from rising swarms of ants. The ants produce formic acid, which can stupefy the gulls. As for the flying ants, their favorite nesting spots include patios, pavements, flowerbeds, lawns, and other dry areas open to the sun. Fortunately, the swarm only lasts 3-5 days.