Harvester Ant


Actual Size: 1/4″ to 1/2″

Characteristics: Large, broad blocky head; red or reddish to brownish-black.

Legs: 6

Wings: Male and female reproductives have wings.

Habitat: Nests occur in open grasslands and desert areas. Although they do not nest within homes, they do construct nests in adjacent lawns and garden areas.


  • Famous for their seed collecting and painful stings.
  • Nests constructed in open areas in deserts and sandy soil.
  • Does not invade homes, but their nests can damage lawns and playgrounds.

Harvester Ants in El Paso TX

Harvester ants, as the name implies, harvest seeds. Also known as “red ants,” harvester ants are famous for their seed collecting and painful stings. Easy to identify, harvester ants are large and build distinct mounds in open grasslands and deserts in the El Paso and Albuquerque areas. Using their strong jaws to grind down seeds, they place them in storage areas called ‘granaries‘ in their nests. Harvester ants produce a painful sting and can damage lawns and vegetation as they forage for food.

Harvester Ant Habitat

Nests of harvester ants are generally located in exposed sandy soil. The mound-shaped nests are moderate to large in size and can be found in arid grasslands, lawns, and playgrounds. Entrances to their nests are often marked by a crater or cone in the center of a slight mound and usually surrounded by a pile of small stones. While they prefer the outdoors and do not typically invade homes and buildings, harvester ants do establish nests in lawns and gardens close to homes, often destroying vegetation. Harvester ants swarm to reproduce, and swarming typically takes place between June and October, especially in the afternoon after a rain event.

Harvester Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Although harvester ants don’t make their way into homes, they are occasional pests on lawns, playgrounds, and parks, where people are vulnerable to getting stung. Harvester ants are notorious for their painful sting. Unlike most ants, harvester ants leave their stinger in the wound. According to experts, harvester ants will readily attack humans and smaller animals. Anaphylactic reactions have been reported from harvester ant stings. If you suspect a harvester ant infestation, it is recommended to contact a licensed ant exterminator.