Over the summer, the UK faced Asian hornets, with over 16 sightings compared to only 2 in 2022. As we are finally heading towards the cooler autumn months, after an unseasonal heatwave, the UK now has to face another insect.
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As reported by Daily Mail, there are an increasing number of sightings of red ants in British homes. These pesky insects are described as 'one of the most invasive species in the world'.
Red ants in the UK
As reported by Daily Mail, it is thought that red ants have been spotted in the UK after some people posted about it on Facebook groups. One user posted in the Gardening Hints and Tips group:
I have a lot of red/orange ants living in my lawn. It looks like I have moles but they're ant hills. Does anyone know how to get rid of them. In Cheshire in UK.
According to The Wildlife Trust winged red ants appear towards late summer during hot and humid weather. The sudden number of red ants could be due to the heatwave that the country has just experienced since it is the perfect weather for the insects.
Red ants are usually native to South America but have now been spotted in Europe, which, according to Daily Mail has caused concern that the invasive species will spread across the continent.
Red ants are all over Europe
Red ant stings are typically painful and they can cause pustules and for some, allergic reactions, which can potentially lead to anaphylactic shock.
Scientists have asked that people help stop the spread of red ants, or Solenopsis invicta. Indeed the invasive species has also been spotted in Sicily, Italy, which was its first official sighting in Europe, with locals reportedly experiencing red ant stings since 2019.
Mattia Menchetti of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Spain explained that the invasion of red ants was partially expected:
S. invicta is one of the worst invasive species
It can spread alarmingly quickly. Finding this species in Italy was a big surprise, but we knew this day would come.
Daily Mail: ‘Red ant 'invasion' strikes Britain: Homeowners reveal they can't get rid of invasive bugs swarming their gardens as insects which cause painful stings and pustules are spotted in Europe for the first time’