Flying ants could swarm Euro 2020 final at Wembley
England-Italy match may be clouded by insects after Met Office radar detects start of ‘nuptial flights’
Swarms of flying ants could swarm to Wembley and cloud the Euro 2020 final, after a radar detected millions of bugs over London and the south-east on Friday.
As luck has it, the final between England and Italy is taking place on Sunday, which could fall into the mating period of ants, which go on a “nuptial flight” in huge numbers between June and September.
Although the Met Office has forecast “promising” weather for Sunday, it also picked up on the phenomenon potentially coinciding with the fixture and becoming a nuisance for buzzing players and fans.
Radar images released by the Met show a number of large pulsating shadows hovering over the capital and surrounding areas, many of which “are in fact insects”, the Met said.
Adam Hart, a professor of science communication at the University of Gloucestershire and a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, told Sky News that Friday’s swarms were just the beginning of the species’ mating season.
He said: “If conditions are right on Sunday there may be more than three lions on shirts at Wembley and all around the country.”
Should this be the case, it would not be the first time that insects have descended on athletes in big sporting events.
Flying ants have been a regular feature of tennis matches in Wimbledon, which takes place in June and July.
During the 2014 World Cup, Colombia’s James Rodríguez scored a penalty kick while a massive insect sat on his arm, while during a 2007 baseball game insects dropped from the sky and swarmed the infield.
The BioDAR Project is conducting a flying ant survey this summer and has asked members of the public to submit sightings of the insects.
According to the Met, showers are possible over Wembley during the final, with the temperature likely to be about 17C.