Harvester or gatherer ants can be found all over the United States, from farms to cities. These ants are very annoying, but they are usually harmless and dangerous. It is a type of ants responsible for collecting fungi and seeds and storing them in a part of the colony.
Do you want to know if you have foraging ants in your home? Below you will know how to identify them and get rid of them naturally.
What are Harvester Ants?
These ants are named for their lifestyle of collecting mushrooms and seeds. Harvester ants dig deep to create a chamber in the soil, which helps plants by causing aeration. This type of ants look for food and rarely eat insects.
They are orange to red to brownish-black in color, have six legs, and can be 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Harvester ants have two antennae and two segments on their body. In the middle section n the upper part of their body, they have two spines.
Many harvester ants feed in hot, dry conditions and do not care about dehydration from the fat in the seeds they encounter. There are three common forage ant species: the red forage ants, the western forage ants, and California forage ants.
Each species has a different feeding and nesting behavior. These ants prefer not to invade houses, but they can establish their nests around patios and gardens. Harvester ants can often destroy vegetation.
What do harvester ants eat?
As mentioned above, forage ants eat mostly seeds and fungi, although they may eat other insects from time to time.
Are Harvester Ants Dangerous?
There are many cases of allergic reactions from harvester ant stings. But rest assured, there is no known death associated with these bites. These pests are considered a nuisance to people and not a threat.
Even if they are not dangerous, it does not mean that they are harmless or that you should let them develop into a serious infestation. You must control them because harvester ants can create more than 12,000 workers in 5 years for each colony.
Where do you find harvester ants in your house?
Harvester ants generally prefer to be outdoors rather than invade indoors. Outside you can find them in the patio, gardens, etc. They can enter your home through cracks, crevices, and holes in windows, walls, and doors.
What Are they Attracted to?
Harvester ants are attracted to flat, open gardens and lawns. They will be able to build their mounds and prefer sandy soils. As their food source is seeds, they can also be attracted to patios or bird feeders.
Are They Dangerous?
Harvester ants are poisonous. Harvester ants in the southwestern United States have a sting that can be painful. But although they are annoying, they have not considered humans’ danger.
They can be dangerous if they have an allergic reaction to these insect bites. These people should stay away from the gatherer or harvester ants.
Collector ants found in Florida rarely sting people and are not aggressive. However, you should be aware that Florida harvester ant bites are more painful and excruciating than other harvester ants.
Difference Between Harvester Ants And Fire Ants
Harvester ants are often confused with fire ants because they have common characteristics. They are similar and sting with the same mechanism of joining the jaws to their victims’ flesh and then sting with the stinger they have in the abdomen.
Some experts claim that harvester ants have a worse stinger than fire ants. The difference is:
One of the main differences is feeding because harvester ants mainly eat seeds. While fire ants feed on anything, they can eat vegetables, animals, sweets, etc.
Another difference is the nests. Harvester ants have only one opening in the striped ground. In general, the land is surrounded by vegetation, revealing where they look for food. You may notice the feeding paths leading to the bare patch.
While the fire or red ants are not characterized in harvesting the seeds, they have insight. Therefore, their nests are not as easy to detect as the nests of harvester ants. The nests are characterized by a soft ground hill that stands out in any garden area.
How To Eliminate Harvester Ants Naturally?
Harvester ants are not considered a risk to humans and their physical well-being. They are more of a nuisance in your garden, and that is why you should not go to extreme measures to eliminate them. You should only look for a mound of dirt in your garden or patio that has been cleared of vegetation and has only one opening for access.
You can use ant bait, and it is the one to carry the poison to the nest and kill them in the colony. Some people do not recommend sprays because they can lose effectiveness or wash with moisture.
You can use and inject a powdered insecticide inside the nest at the hottest time of day. This is a good time because the inhabitants are resting, and you will be able to treat the colony better.
Experts recommend combining several treatments with being effective and killing the harvester ants correctly. To get rid of them, you can use the following:
Hot water is effective in killing an ant colony. You need to fill a container with hot water and bring it to the harvester ant colony’s location.
You must spray large amounts of hot water into the dirt mound opening to reach all the foraging ants. Remember to be very careful when bringing boiling water because it can burn you. As these ants have already destroyed the vegetation near the settlement, there will be no problem in pouring boiling water on the ground.
You can apply sodium bicarbonate at the base of your plants, and as this substance is poisonous for them, they will not touch the plants. This is a natural and environmentally friendly way to combat pesky harvester ants. You must use another treatment to be able to eliminate them.
You can use diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it on the collector’s nest mound or harvester ants. It has the function of dehydrating all ants when they come into contact with the product. You can repeat this procedure until you are sure that the harvester ants have already disappeared or have decreased in number.
If you notice that the infestation is already very serious, you should seek a professional’s help. They will know what treatments to use to eliminate it immediately.
How To Prevent Harvester Ants From Entering into Your Home?
Harvester ants generally do not invade your homes because they prefer to be in gardens. They prefer open fields to access the seeds that are their food source.
If you find them inside your home, have them seal any crevices or cracks in windows, walls, or doors. If there are harvester ants in your home, it is because you already have an infestation in your yard. With the above tips, you can get rid of them and prevent them from entering your home.