Throughout California, there are a number of insects and other pests that invade homes and businesses. Some pests can be responsible for a number of issues, from property and structural damage, as well as posing a health risk. No matter what type of pest might be intruding into homes and businesses, they need to be eliminated quickly. Though there are quite a few types of ants running through the homes in California, we at Animal Pest Management would like to further elaborate on harvester ants to help the locals identify these ants.
Harvester Ant Facts
From their behavior of collecting or harvesting seeds as their primary food source, harvester ants get their common name. Because of their stings, and their habit of removing all vegetation from around their nests causing large bare spots in lawns, these ants are a concern in urban settings. Found in the United States, there are 22 species of harvester ants. The Florida harvester ant, red harvester ant, California harvester ant, black harvester ant and the Western harvester ant are the common types of harvester ants. Except the Florida harvester ant, all are limited to west of the Mississippi River.
Harvester Ant Identification
Color: These ants range from red to orange, or brownish-black in color.
Body Shape: Many species have long hairs on their head forming a ‘beard’, and they have a two-segmented; midsection has one pair of spines on the top (most species); along with the standard 6 legs and antenna.
Size: These ants’ range in size from ¼ – ½”, or .7-11.5 mm long.
Harvester ant workers, depending on the species, and range from red to brown and black in color and approximately ¼ – ½” in length as mentioned above. Most species have a pair of spines on the top of their midsection, and they have a two-segmented pedicel, which is the attachment between the thorax and abdomen. Also, as mentioned above, they have a beard-like in appearance from the long hairs on the underside of their heads.
Signs of Harvester Ant Infestations
By looking for bare soil areas, harvester ant nests are easy to locate. When the ants are least active outside is when nest mounds should be treated, which tends to be during the hottest part of the day. With painful stings, these harvester ants are known to kill animals that disturb their nests. Depending on the species, harvester ant mounds are moderate to large in size. As harvester ants usually remain within the nest during the hottest part of the day, large areas surrounding the mound are stripped of vegetation to prevent shading, generally. These ants exhibit two foraging patterns. The first pattern leaves the nest individually and disperse in all directions using visual cues. The harvester ant’s second pattern is where the ants leave the nest and forage along scent trails to find resources. Harvester ants will also feed on insects, though they favor seeds. In response to changes in climate, some harvester ants may occasionally move their nest. Ranging from one to multiple entrances nests can be up to 3 feet deep. Small charcoal, pebbles, or fragments of dead vegetation will sometimes cover these mound surfaces. In each colony that is relatively long-lived, there is a single queen.
Ant Pest Inspections, Control & More in San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside & San Diego Counties, California
If you believe your Southern California home is overrun with harvester ants, or any other type of ant, the professionals of Animal Pest Management are readily available to assist you. Contact us today!