You may have noticed flying ants whizzing around today.

This is becuase the annual seasonal event known as Flying Ant Day has begun.

In real terms, it is more of a season than a one-off daily event and happens at different times across the country.

The Natural History Museum said the winged ants appear at different times around the country and local weather conditions are critical for the coordination of swarming activity.

The purpose of the event is to allow the queen ant the opportunity to mate and start new colonies. 

And it appears many have been hard at work today with hundreds of sightings from all around the country of flying ants. 

But what exactly is 'Flying Ant Day' and when does it happen? 

Flying Ant Day is scientifically referred to as nuptial flight, the phenomena where virgin queens mate with males before starting new colonies.

For humans this basically means a large quantity of ants whizzing around. 

While it has been dubbed 'Flying Ant Day', the Royal Society of Biology found that the widely held idea is actually a misconception.

Basingstoke Gazette: Credit: Stewart WilsonCredit: Stewart Wilson

It is not a single day but more like a season and usually happens at different times around the country, depending on a specific set of weather conditions which usually mean dry and without too much wind. 

Ordinarily, this period occurs in late July or August. 

The natural event has been described as "early Christmas" for seagulls, who enjoy feasting on the insects.

What do ants do before Flying Ant Day? 

Before the swarming or the nuptial flights, ants live in a colony in a nest and each have a specific job role. 

The queen lays the eggs while female workers look after the queen, eggs and larvae. They gather food, make their nest bigger and generally ensure the colony runs to plan. 

Most of the eggs hatch into worker ants but when the colony is completed, the queen begins to produce virgin queens and males. 

A new queen ant needs to leave the colony where she is born to found a new one. She also needs to mate. So, she leaves her nest with a number of flying male worker ants.

According to the Royal Society of Biology, the large numbers of flying ants which appear in a short space of time increase the chance of reproduction, because there is a very high chance a queen will encounter a male from another nest.

Then, to check he's worthy. she flies away from him, performing acrobatics to test his abilities to catch her.

When he does they mate in mid-air. This kills the male ant.

The Queen then lands to find somewhere to start a new colony. She loses her wings after just one day