Harvester ants are one of the larges ants and can grow as long as ½ inch.
Colors vary depending on species and range from reddish brown to black.
Harvester ants are very common in urban areas and one nest can house up to 12,000 workers. Harvester ants are very large and have a nasty and painful sting. They will fiercely protect and defend their nest. Nest openings typically have a large, circular, flat area around them, which is created by workers as they clear the nest of any soil or debris. The nests can go as deep as 15 feet and can have a great number of chambers.
Harvester ants gather and feed on seeds and other vegetation.
Winged males and females swarm, couple and mate and the males die soon after. Females immediately find a nesting site where they drop their wings, dig a burrow and lay their eggs, which develop through several stages to become workers. Once mature, these worker ants care for other developing ants, enlarge the nest and forage for food.
Harvester ant colonies are typically widely separated; however, there can be heavy infestations in pasture and rangeland. These ants are known to destroy agricultural crops and can significantly reduce crop yields if left uncontrolled. They colonize in ornamental turf and landscape areas where their presence is undesirable.
Harvester ant nests are usually found in open areas, but can also be found under slabs or porches and also in lawns and other landscape areas. It is important to find the source so that you may treat it directly.