SWARMS of flying ants have reportedly invaded parts of Barrow and Ulverston as the nation prepares for a mass emergence.

Numerous reports have arisen of swarms of flying ants wreaking havoc in areas around Roose, Barrow Island and Ulverston.

The winged insects usually emerge over a few weeks over July and August with several peaks in appearances, each lasting only a few days.

The precise pattern of swarming varies from year to year and is usually triggered by the weather.

Lyn Hiseman said her husband, Ron, looked like Ant Man when he returned from a walk in Roose.

She said: "They were flying everywhere, Ron was covered in them when he came back from a walk. He came back looking like Ant Man - he was covered."

One Barrow mum was out with her kids when she spotted the high volume of flying ants.

She said: “They were awful flying all over Barrow Island yesterday, they were everywhere.

“I’ve never noticed it as bad as I did at the weekend, there was enough to know they were there.

“They were very annoying when out and about with kids.”

A 50-mile-wide swarm of flying ants has been making its way over the UK - and is so huge that it has been spotted from space.

The enormous cloud of insects was picked up by the Met Office’s weather radar over Kent and Sussex, on England’s southeast coast.

The weather service said smaller swarms could be seen over London.

A spokesman for the Met Office said there were likely to be ‘thousands’ of ants within the swarm.

“It’s not unusual for larger swarms to be picked up,” he said.

“A similar thing happened almost exactly a year ago on ‘Flying Ant Day’.

“On days like today, when it is sunny, the radar detects the swam but we are able to see they are not the same shape as water droplets, and in fact look more insect-like.”

Flying ant day occurs when males and new queens leave the nest to mate, with many ant colonies doing so on the same day.

According to the Royal Society of Biology, as many as 96 per cent of days between June and September flying ants are spotted.

The flying ants usually encountered in towns or garden are almost certainly the black garden variety, the Lasius niger.

Their nests have a single queen and typically around 5,000 workers, although there can be as many as 15,000.

Sarah Dalrymple, reserves officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust and warden at South Walney Nature Reserve, said: "The masses of flying ants on just a day or two provide a food bounty for plenty of birds and other insects, particularly swifts, swallows, and gulls. The swarm only happens once a year, in late summer when the conditions are just right, which is why they all swarm at around the same time."

A spokesman for Barrow Borough Council said no complaints about the flying ants had been made to Environmental Health.