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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July 2004, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Flying ant colonies sweep cities
Flying ant
The flying ants' hatches have been caused by the warm weather
People are being urged not to panic after millions of flying ants appeared in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The switchboards of Glasgow City Council were jammed by hundreds of callers alarmed by the swarms of winged insects, which can deliver a tiny bite.

The local authority said that there was no need to worry as the airborne pests would soon die.

The "hatch" began on Tuesday during a spell of warm weather and will continue for the next few days.

The swarms in Glasgow city centre, its suburbs and parts of Edinburgh have been caused by a "nuptial flight" from ants' nests of a new queen pursued by ants and would-be suitors.

At one point, some cars in Glasgow city centre were entirely covered by ants.

The flying ants are capable of delivering a tiny nip, which can be equally alarming
Glasgow City Council spokeswoman
Once a single male has successfully mated with the female, all the males perish and, if the new queen survives, she finds a spot to build a new colony.

The council advised the public to close windows and buy an ant powder from the local garden centre or supermarket for when the inevitable colonies appear.

Such colonies are likely to crop up in gardens, parks, under slabs, in pavement cracks and roads or even in homes after the mating season, said the council.

A spokeswoman said: "The hatch happens every year but not usually all at once and therefore in such numbers.

"With no wind either, the insects were not dispersed and alarmed people by landing on them as they died.

"As with the ants most people recognise from picnics outside, the flying ants are capable of delivering a tiny nip, which can be equally alarming."

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