THE Met Office has mistaken rain for a swarm of flying ants invading the UK spotted from space.
The “swarm of flying ants” approached off the southern coast earlier today and was picked up by weather radar as a spell of looming rain.
A Met Office weather forecast revealed a rain cloud moving across the south – which turned out to be the crawling critters.
The insects, which took to the sky for their annual event to form new colonies, have been picked up by the forecasting radar.
Much to the amusement of Brits, The Met Office confessed on Twitter: “It’s not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise…
“The radar is actually picking up a swarm of flying ants across the southeast
“During the summer ants can take to the skies in a mass emergence usually on warm, humid and windless days.”
A Met Office spokesperson said the ants showed up on their image as a showers of rain because “the radar thinks the beams are hitting raindrops not ants”.
BBC weather presenter Simon King tweeted an image of what he described as the “incredible” phenomenon earlier.
He posted: “Flying ants!!! Swarms of them flying into the sky in S Eng are being picked up as rain on the radar image this morning.”
Mr King said it was the biggest swarm of insects he had seen in the UK.
He told the BBC: “We knew it was dry in the south of England, and yet the radar was showing this very light precipitation across the south.
“You can tell it’s not rainfall because it has that eerie look to it. It doesn’t quite match what rainfall looks like.
“For it to actually to appear on the radar imagery, that’s something certainly incredible, and I just feel sorry for all the people who have to experience those flying ants.”
Social media users were quick to share their amusement at the turn of events.
Samuel commented: “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.”
Claire Wilson responded: “Can you please fly over Shoreham, my ex is there…
“Thank you flying ants.”
Karen said: “Jesus absolute Christ. Thanks for the warning Neil.
“Still got dead ones all over my balcony from flying ant day. Ugh.”
Patricia joked: “Are we sure they’re not the murder hornets?”
Frances Williams said: “From the radar it looks as if the flying ants are all trying to escape to France. I don’t blame them.”
Robert Payne added: “Your radar didn’t pick-up the rain we had in South Wales earlier this morning.”
Kieran joked: “Damn, I’m meant to be at a bbq in a bit.”
It comes just four days after the yearly Flying Ant Day – which sees males and new virgin Queens leave their nest to mate.
The pair will then start new colonies in another location.
Their swarming is triggered by the weather in July and August.
The news follows the millions of of flying ants which swarmed the country yesterday in a breeding frenzy.
Social media has been abuzz with pictures of the insects encroaching pavements and back gardens.
The insects are known for making a yearly appearance in the warmer months, but there is one day in the year when they flee their nests across the country.
That day is Flying Ant Day, and this year it took place on July 16.
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