• Size: Harvester ants range from three-eighths of an inch to one-half inch in length.
  • Color: The color varies from red to reddish-brown to black, depending on the species.
  • Behavior: Harvester ants are farmers in the sense that they gather seeds as their primary food source. They generally clear large circular areas completely free of any vegetation around the nest entrance hole. A few species are known to clear an area up to 30 feet or more in diameter. Other species may only clear a few feet. Some species construct mounds, while others carry the excavated soil away from the nest and discard it. These ants become pests only when they invade a lawn from a neighboring field. These ants aggressively defend their nests and will bite vigorously; some species will sting.


Several dozen species of harvester ants occur in the United States, but most are desert dwellers and do not come into contact with humans very often. Only one species is found east of the Mississippi River in Florida; the remaining species are found in the Southwest. Nests occur in the soil with a single entrance hole.

Tips for Control

Harvester ants are controlled through the use of ant baits. In some cases, however, getting the ants in a particular colony to take the bait may require persistence and possibly the use of different baits.