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Texas Red Harvester Ants

In the United States alone, there are several species of harvester ants. Many of these harvester ant species are found in Texas, especially around the far western areas of Texas. Of all the harvester ant species in Texas, the Texas red harvester ant is the most noticeable — typically in open areas. Texas red harvester ants are the most common ants sold to hobbyists who maintain ant farms.

Workers of the Texas red harvester ant colonies have long bodies and range in color from red to dark brown. They have square heads and no spines on their bodies. Winged males and female swarmers are larger than worker ants.

Texas red harvester ants feed primarily on seeds, including wild sunflowers, Johnson grass, burr clovers, alfalfa seeds and small beans. They also consume insects.

Texas red harvester ants mate after rainy days. Males die soon after mating, while females shed their wings and begin new colonies by digging a burrow and laying eggs within it. These eggs eventually become worker ants, which care for other developing ants, build the nest and forage for food.

The sting of the Texas red harvester ant is painful and can cause severe allergic reactions in certain individuals. Colonies of the Texas red harvester ant also can infest rangelands and pastures heavily, resulting in a decreased yield.

The Texas red harvester ant is the primary food source of the Texas horned lizard, which is a protected species.

If Texas red harvester ants are causing problems, contact a local pest management professional for assistance.

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