Harvester ants get their common name from their behavior of collecting or harvesting seeds as their primary food source. They are of concern in the urban setting because of their stings, and their habit of removing all vegetation from around their nests causing large bare spots in lawns. There are 22 species of harvester ants found in the United States. The most common types of harvester ants are the California harvester ant, Florida harvester ant, red harvester ant, black harvester ant and the Western harvester ant. All are limited to west of the Mississippi River except the Florida harvester ant. Keep reading to learn more about harvester ants, including whether harvester ants sting, as well as information on harvester ant control.
Workers, depending on species, are about 1/4 to 1/2 inches long, and range from red to brown and black in color. They have a two-segmented pedicel (the attachment between the thorax and abdomen), and most species have a pair of spines on the top of their midsection. Many species also have long hairs on the underside of their heads, which is beard-like in appearance.
Signs Of Infestation
Harvester ant nests are easy to locate by looking for bare soil areas. Mounds should be treated during the hottest part of the day or when the ants are least active outside of the nest.