How Harvester Ants Threaten Your Cozy Home

Just when it seemed like the perfect day to enjoy the summer sun with your family, you notice that your backyard has attracted some uninvited guests. Harvester ants are remarkable insects, but they don’t always make the best neighbors, especially for homes with children or pets. With a combined attack featuring a powerful bite and a venomous sting, harvester ants can quickly become a serious nuisance. Keep reading to learn about how these common pests can impact your home safety and how to remove harvester ants from your life.

What Are Harvester Ants?

Harvester ants include 22 species of ants found in Florida, the western United States, and parts of Mexico and Canada. These ants survive by collecting seeds from the vegetation around their nests, and their colonies can last for up to 20 years. A colony consists of around 12,000 ants. Many species are particularly active when the weather is hot and dry.

Harvester Ants and Home Safety

Harvester ants forage seeds from their local environment, so unlike some ants, they don’t usually infest houses. However, they pack a powerful sting, so their presence in a yard or garden can be a problem. Harvester ants can be very dangerous, especially if you have small children or pets who might get too close to a mound. When a harvester ant feels threatened, it will bite a human or animal with its mandibles, lock on, and inject venom repeatedly into the surrounding area. This can lead to painful sores and severe allergic reactions for some people and animals.

Identifying Harvester Ants

At 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length, harvester ants are easy to spot. They are generally reddish, ranging in color from orange to dark brown and almost black. They have large, square heads and prominent mandibles. Some species have noticeable hairs under their heads, which gives the appearance of a beard. Like most ants, they live together in complex colonies working together to reproduce and support the queen, so if you see one ant, you’re sure to see many more.

Signs of Harvester Ants on Your Property

Over time, a harvester ant colony’s presence will become obvious because these foraging insects remove all the vegetation from the ground around the entrances to their nests. This results in a bare patch of dirt surrounding a mound’s entrance hole. These bare patches are fairly large and range in size from three to six feet in diameter, so there is a good chance you’ll be able to identify the site of the nest.

What to Do About Harvester Ants on Your Property

Although it is possible to treat harvester ant mounds yourself by using over-the-counter ant baits from your local hardware store, professional pest control is usually the best solution for eliminating harvester ants from your property or home. If not successful the first time around, a do-it-yourself approach can lead to recurring infestations and the headaches that go along with using chemical insecticides on your property over and over.

Pest control professionals will have the knowledge, experience, and equipment necessary to rid your home of harvester ants and other pests safely and effectively.

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