Harvester Ant


Actual Size: 1/4″ to 1/2″

Characteristics: Large and broad head with reddish-brown to black coloration.

Legs: 6

Wings: Reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Typically build nests in open grasslands and open areas, rarely indoors. Generally stays in lawns and garden areas.


  • Capable of delivering painful stings that can cause anaphylactic reactions in some people.
  • Known for collecting seeds, hence their common nickname.
  • Do not invade homes, but frequently builds nests in lawns and playground areas.

Harvester Ants in North Jersey

Also known as “red ants”, harvester ants are most known for delivering painful stings. However, they get their nickname for their habit of collecting and planting seeds. By waiting for the seeds to germinate, these ants are able to eat the contents of the seed without having to break through the tough outer shell. Though harvester ants are most common in open grasslands and desert areas, they are still a well-known pest in North Jersey. They often build nests in lawns and playground areas, making them a concern for young children who like to play outdoors.

Harvester Ant Habitat

While harvester ants do not typically invade homes or buildings, they often build nests in nearby sandy soil. A single nest can have as many as 10 separate entrances, and they are typically mound-shaped and large in size. When building these nests, the harvester ants will strip the surrounding vegetation and encourage soil erosion, which can damage the appearance of your landscape. In the late summer or early fall, reproductive age ants will swarm to reproduce. Swarms can be concerning to come across, and since these ants can deliver a painful sting, it’s best to keep your distance should you notice one nearby.

Harvester Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Harvester ants are aggressive and may readily attack or sting humans and other smaller animals. Unlike other species of ants, harvester ants leave the stinger behind in the wound. In some cases, anaphylactic reactions can occur following a sting. In addition to this painful behavior, harvester ants may also ruin the health and beauty of your landscape by removing vegetation and preventing grass or other plants from growing. If you notice the signs of these pests on or near your property, do not approach the nest on your own; instead, contact licensed ant pest control technician right away. Our licensed experts have the tools and equipment needed to get rid of the harvester ants quickly and safely.