Flying Insects in Ireland
For the last couple of weeks, Ireland has been experiencing a heatwave. Temperatures averaged over 25 degrees across the country. For some, this has been amazing. While others deemed it ‘too hot and uncomfortable.’ Personally, I am loving the sunshine! Good weather means beach trips, BBQ’s, and beer gardens. Things we haven’t got to do enough of in the past year. However, the recent heatwave has had a side effect that I am not okay with. Namely, the impact it has had on the flying insects in Ireland. Wasps, ants, and flies in Ireland have all been out in force, due to the heatwave.
Wasps in Ireland
Extreme heat has a dramatic effect on wasps in Ireland. Firstly, high temperatures cause breeding to speed up. As incubation time decreases with high temperatures. As a result, a nest can double in size in less than one week. This increase in a nests population means there are more wasps out hunting. Secondly, high temperatures make wasps more aggressive. High temperatures make wasps desperate for moisture. As they search for it, they become aggressive and more likely to sting.
Additionally, at this time of the year, the social structure of the wasp colony is breaking down. Once the Queen has laid her last egg. Consequently, wasps no longer need to stay in the nest. As they have nothing left to protect. And the Queen no longer produces a hormone that keeps the colony working together. Leaving wasps confused and disorientated. So, they go searching for sweet food. And they are not shy about approaching humans to get it. At this time of year, in their confused and aggressive state, wasps are much more likely to sting.
Flies in Ireland
Much like wasps, the hot weather rapidly increases fly breeding patterns in Ireland. Typically, fly eggs take over 20 hours to hatch into larvae. However, during heatwaves, that time is cut down to under 8 hours. And the eggs can mature to adults in as little as 4 days. When they reach adulthood, they begin breeding immediately. They lay roughly 900 eggs over their 21 day lifetime.
Unlike wasps, flies are not aggressive. However, they are relentlessly annoying. And covered in germs. Flies are attracted to food. And landing on food causes contamination. Flies are cold-blooded. And in hot temperatures, they are more likely to seek shaded areas. As people tend to leave windows and doors open, it stands to reason that flies find their way inside.
Ants in Ireland
A heatwave in July, usually means that ‘Flying Ant Day‘ is approaching. Flying Ant Day happens when young queens leave their nests to start their own colonies. This results in swarms of ants descending on various parts of the country. With their mates, the queens take what is known as a ‘nuptial flight.’ Reproducing while in flight, and then once they land they discard their wings and search for a colony to lay their eggs.
Despite its name, flying ant day is not just one day. It can happen over a few weeks. When the weather conditions are optimal. Research shows that the temperature needs to be over 15 degrees, with little to no winds, for the flight to occur. While flying ant day isn’t dangerous, it is uncomfortable. Swarms of ants appearing out of nowhere can be disturbing.