Harvester Ant Facts & Information
Protect your home or business from harvester ants by learning techniques for identification and control.
How do I get rid of harvester ants?
What Orkin Does
Orkin technicians are trained to help manage Harvester Ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique ant treatment program for your situation.
Keeping ants out of homes and buildings is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps — Assess, Implement and Monitor. Orkin can provide the right solution to keep ants in their place...out of your home, or business.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Understanding Harvester Ants
The Western harvester ant is found in the west at high elevations. This is a red colored ant that can be 6.5 to 10 mm long. Galleries have been found to go over 600 cm deep.
Aside from the ants themselves, the large mounds, almost 53 inches across in some cases, and denuded vegetation near to the nest are the most visible signs of harvester ant activity.
The three common species of harvester ants — the red, western and California harvester ants — each have unique behaviors, castes and tasks, feeding, nesting patterns and defense mechanisms. The harvester ant behavior differs between each species, seen through their feeding and nesting habits. In addition, unlike many other ants that infest indoor structures, all species of harvester ants prefer not to invade houses and buildings, but will establish their nests around gardens or yards, often destroying vegetation.
The red harvester ants can be aggressive. They deliver a painful sting. Sometimes, the stings of harvester ants can cause allergic reactions, especially to those sensitive to their venom. Aside from their powerful stings, harvester ants also bite viciously.
This is an important agricultural pest in many areas. The feeding habits of red harvester ants can be seen as they leave their nests and travel to their food sources, leaving a distinct scent throughout their paths.
Colonies usually contain a single queen who is responsible for producing the eggs. Winged reproductives, also called swarmer or alates, are produced in the summer. Males die soon after mating with the females, who go on to found new colonies.
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