Red Harvester Ants

red-harvester-antsWorkers are large and all one size, about ¼ inch long and are red in color. The thorax has a spine and appears even on profile. The antenna has twelve segments without a club. The petiole has two nodes. There is a beard beneath the head. These ants have actually been able to kill small pigs by their sudden and viscous attacks. Harvester Ants will go after people and just about any small animal that gets too close to the nest. Around the entrance to their nest, these ants create a bare area, which can extend to a distance of 25 feet. The ants remove the vegetation so that the sun can shine on the area, which helps to control the moisture level and temperature in the nest. These ants have been known to cause extensive damage to citrus groves and home lawns. Where these ants occur in large numbers, activities are greatly curtailed due to the severe stings inflicted by the workers. Red Harvester ant colonies have been known to survive for as long as 19 years. The principal food for harvester ants is seeds. They store great amounts of food in their nest and can seal the entrance to the nest and survive for several months. If disturbed Red Harvester Ants become very aggressive even to the point of actively searching for the intruder.