Flying ants invade Wimbledon, disrupt play

LONDON -- Large numbers of flying ants invaded the All England Club on Wednesday, distracting and irritating players and fans.

Known as "Flying Ant Day," this is the time of year when ants leave their colonies to mate. Historically, the ants swarm during late July or early August, but given the recent hot temperatures, the movement started earlier than expected.

American Sam Querrey was among those plagued Wednesday.

"Never seen that before," Querrey, a four-set winner against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili said afterward. "Luckily, it was 30 or 45 minutes. I don't know what it was, but they seemed to kind of go away after a while. If it got much worse, I almost wanted to stop because they were hitting you in the face when you were trying to hit balls. All over the place."

According to the Royal Society of Biology, a single nest can have up to 15,000 ants.

"That was strange," Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said. The Frenchman, who also moved on to the third round of Wimbledon, added he has seen something similar at the US Open, but this was more severe.

"It was in my nose and in my ear," he quipped.

Great Britain's Johanna Konta, who won a 3-hour, 10-minute marathon Wednesday, later joked she might have even swallowed some ants.

"It was interesting," Konta said. "It kind of went in stages. At one point there was a lot, and then actually towards the end of the match, I don't think there were that many. But I definitely have taken home a few both in my belly and in my bags."

Fellow Brit Aljaz Bedene was also bothered by these flying creatures.

"When you are playing a point, you only see the ball," Bedene said. "But after the point, yeah, they were just flying around. Hopefully that was just today and they will be gone by Friday."

If not, it might just be a case of tough luck for everyone on the grounds.

"I brought it up to the umpire," Querrey said. "He kind of laughed -- the flowers, the bugs, they're happy. Something like that. I don't know what he said. He kind of shrugged it off. Like, these are just bugs; we're going to play through it."