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Health, Science & Environment

Expert says not to worry if you see swarms of ants, it isn't the plague

Fly Termites, also known as flying ants, have a very short lifetime
Roshan Gracious
/
Wikimedia Commons
Fly Termites, also known as flying ants, have a very short lifetime

After heavy morning rains, swarms of flying ants descended on Southwest Ohio this past Saturday.

Reportedly, they surrounded people at parks, crashed into windshields on the highway, and, for a split second, may have even blocked out the sun as they flew by. But, in an interview with WYSO, Wright State Biology professorDon Cipollini said the swarming bugs aren’t a sign of an impending plague.

“I'd say the best thing to do is just avoid them, ignore them, let them go about their business, and they'll be gone before you know it,” Cipollini said.

The ants were doing one of their periodic nuptial flights where they leave their nests en masse to find mates.

Cipollini said the climate conditions early Saturday afternoon were just right and triggered multiple species to synchronize their flights, which is why there were so many of them.

“These are completely normal, natural events,” he said. “It can be dramatic when it happens but we've had, for example, a fairly dry period that's followed by that good rain and that sets the stage perfectly and you tend to get a large amount of ants coming out at once.”

He also said that if you look for it, you may see more nuptial flights before the ant mating season ends in a few months.

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Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.