This article is more than 1 year old

An irritating itch down the back of your neck? Searing midsummer heat? Of course, it can only be SysAdmin Day

Don't worry if one's loitering in your garden, it'll buzz off in a while

It is the balmy midsummer day when they grow wings, fly about in the hot sun, and get stuck to every kind of food and beverage. Yes, today is SysAdmin Day.

Having spent the year cooped up in subterranean nests mindlessly following orders, sysadmins finally get their day in the sun. It all starts when the male and female sysadmins sprout wings and venture out on a "nuptial flight", seeking sysadmins from other colonies to mate with.

Up and down the country, humans enjoying the outdoors will see sysadmins in flight, the virgin queens mating with males, only to land and start empires of their own. They will lose their wings and sometimes can be seen wandering around looking for a new place to call home.

So sudden is their emergence from their dark, sweaty nests that swarms of sysadmins can appear to materialise as if from nowhere and begin to irritate and bamboozle those merely trying to complete the perfunctory day-to-day tasks. An irritating itch down the back of your neck? It's probably a sysadmin lost on its way to find a mate.

Colonies of sysadmins have a single queen and typically around 5,000 workers, although there can be as many as 15,000. Most of the sysadmins you see are workers.

A sysadmin day usually occurs when a spell of wet weather is followed by hot humid weather. They only fly when the temperature is above 13°C (55.4°F) and when the wind speed is less than 6.3 metres per second, but overall sysadmins like it calm and warm.

Sysadmins are not harmful so if some emerge in your garden or elsewhere it is advisable to leave them alone as they'll disappear or fly off within a few hours.

SysAdmin Day is real, although not as we describe it. It is an event to show your appreciation for all the people who keep IT systems up and running.

Buy them pizza, beer or just say something nice. Follow the Twitter feed here.

Flying ant day is, of course, a myth. They emerge and mate throughout the summer. ®

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