How to Get Rid of Harvester Ants

Infestation of harvester ants can be a nuisance to humans than a threat. Although they are entirely harmless, they shouldn’t be allowed to move in and around of the house as they wish. How to get rid of harvester ants including step by step instruction is provided in this post. Find more on ways to kill the ants naturally and tips to prevent their invasion.

What are harvester ants?

How can you describe harvester ants? They get their name from their lifestyle which simply involves collecting of seeds and mushrooms. How do they this? They dig deep and create chambers inside the soil thus causing aeration. Aeration helps plants in growth.

As they collect seeds, they increase seed dispersal and survival of the seeds in the arid areas and the plants. In the process of building their colony, the help mix the upper and deep layers of the soil. The ants help in mixing the organic matter in the soil.

They can also destroy land for cattle grazing since they have the ability to reduce vegetation and plants meant for cattle to graze.

What is their body like? Harvester ant workers have their bodies only ¼ to ½ long. Usually red and dark brown in color. Like other ants, they have a queen which is chosen as larva then fed special food to make the body grow in preparation of the reproduction. Once the queen is ready, it digs a tunnel where it lay the eggs.

Just like the other ants, larva hatch and go through the several instar stages. Later on, they join the worker population taking care of their younger siblings, looking for food and increasing their territory.

Harvester Ant Image
Harvester Ant Image

Harvester ant colony has the ability to survive for as long as the queen survives since she is the only one with the task to reproduce eggs in order to increase the population.

If you disturb the harvester ants, you are likely to end being stung and their sting is rather painful. Their choice of settlement location is usually secluded and they have a conspicuous nest, it is not easy to get their way meaning they rarely sting humans.

Differences between harvester ants and fire ants?

How do you tell the differences between harvester ants and fire ants? Fire ants have in many cases been confused for harvester ants because these look more or less the same. They have many things in common.

One: they look alike and they also use the same technique in stinging of attaching their mandibles into the flesh of the victim and then go ahead to sting or bite using the stinger attached to their abdomen. But harvester ants are considered to have a worse sting than a fire ants.

Differences between Harvester Ants and Fire Ants

The major difference: the harvester ants’ diet mainly feed on seeds while the fire ants will eat on anything edible including animals, vegetables and any other sweet thing.

The other major difference is characterized on their nests; harvester ants are characterized by only one opening in a bare of patch of land usually surrounded by vegetation. While fire ants do not just specialize in harvesting every possible seed in sight which means it is not easy to notice their nest as compared to the harvester ants’ nests. You will notice a soft mound of soil that tend to protrude on a random section in your backyard or under trees, or grassy patch.

Are harvester ants dangerous – do they bite or sting?

Are harvester ants really dangerous? Do they bite or sting? Harvester ants are not perceived to be dangerous. They do not go looking for humans to sting or bite. But don’t be fooled, they can be dangerous if only you sting or bite if you go disturb their peace especially in their habitation. But it is rare since their colony is found in open fields which is usually a rather obvious colony.

But should you be found in their colonies, you can end up getting a bite or sting which is painful probably considered to be worse than a bee sting. The pain from the sting or bite can last for hours or days. In most cases, no allergic reaction is reported but if you simply clean the wounds with warm soapy water or apply calamine, it can help soothe the wound. Allergic reaction cannot be completely ruled out. Some people can develop allergy to the sting or bite. Seek medical attention if you develop any allergic reaction.

Can Harvester Kill You?

We’ve mentioned above why harvester ants aren’t a cause of concern. They don’t cause any health problem. Although they do not go looking for humans, their bite or sting is considered to be rather painful more badly than a bee sting.

There are cases of allergic reaction to harvester ants bites causing a great deal of discomfort. But there are almost zero cases of death attributed to this ants. Swelling as a reaction to the sting has been reported which appears as darker red. Multiple stings can cause excruciating pain which could accompany fever and chills.

 A child or an immunosuppressed person if gets stung by the harvester ant could possibly die. Make sure these category of people take care to stay clear of the ants with poison and venom from the bite.

What do harvester ants eat?

Do you ever ask what these harvester ants eat? We mentioned earlier in the post that harvester ants specialize in collecting seeds then taking them back to their colony. Which means, if the seeds have starch, it is as good as their food basically for consumption.

Harvester Ants appearance

Harvester ants have square – like heads with large mandibles specifically for chewing. Their main diet consists of mainly seeds and dead insects. This makes it a complete diet given that they get water from the food they eat.

How to get rid of harvester ants – step by step instructions

What is the most effective way of getting rid of harvester ants? Here’s how you can kill these ants if they invade your home and cause nuisance.

Step 1: Nest Toxicants

Find the nest where the ant colony. Once you do, use toxicants to get rid of harvester ants. It is the most effective method to get rid of ants. But the problem is it can only be done by experts or professional exterminator. They alone can effective remove or kill the entire ant colony.

You will have to call the exterminator to completely get rid of these ants from your garden and inside your homes. It is thus the surest way to kill the entire colony at once but it will cost you.

Step 2: Ant Baits

We discussed above that harvester ants collect seeds and take back to their colony. Having this in mind, start by placing baits in their trail paths. The ant baits can be laced with some poison. The ants will carry the bait back to the colony. Of course, after some time, the ants and their queen will eat the bait.

Once the queen consumes the poison, it will die after a couple of days which means the end for that colony. For effective results, be sure to place several baits along the ant trails.

In the post, you will find other effective home and natural remedy that can be useful to get rid of harvester ants.

How to get rid of harvester ants naturally

Below are some of our recommended natural home remedies to get rid of harvester ants fast.

1. Baking Soda

You may choose to apply baking soda on plants to eliminate harvester ants. Baking soda is friendly to the environment in dealing with stubborn harvester ants.

You can also make baking soda spray to kill the ants. Here’s how:

  • Mix baking soda  (2 teaspoons) and 4 cups of water
  • Stir the mixture
  • Put in a spray bottle
  • Spray the ants and make sure you follow their trails and continue spray
  • Allow it to dry
  • Repeat the procedure thrice for effective results

2. Boiling Water

If done properly, boiling water can be effective remedy to get rid of harvester ants. But you have to be carefully when carrying hot water otherwise you risk getting serious burns. Boil enough water depending on the ant infestation in your home.

  • Fill a container with the hot water and carry where you see harvester ants and their colony.
  • Pour the hot water in their nest and any other opening where the harvester are coming from
  • Repeat the procedure thrice daily until all the ants are dead

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is another effective remedy if sprinkled if you sprinkled into the harvester ant nest mound. It dehydrates the harvester ant when it comes to their bodies. For effective results, repeat the procedure until you see desired results.

Tips to prevent harvester ants from invading your home

Generally harvester ants are usually not a cause of concern. They have no business to enter your house. Their location majorly is in open fields where they prefer to live in. Here, they can have access to seeds which is their main source of food.

But if you see them moving around your home, then you can start by sealing your window, doors and any other cracks that may be their point of entry. This doesn’t mean your problems end there since if harvester ants are in your house, then they are certainly within your yard.

To get rid of harvester ants in your yard, any of the above mentioned method should come in handy. But if you want to completely prevent future infestation, you can contract professional exterminator. They alone can know the best chemicals to use to protect your family as well as your plans.


In summary, harvester ants are not a cause of concern. They do not cause any physical health risk. In fact, they increase soil fertility by increasing aeration. But if left unchecked, they can cause significant damage to plants. This article was to give you different methods to get rid of harvester ants in your yard.

The information above is to help you identify the ants in your yard. The knowledge therefore comes in handy to help you get rid of the ant colony from your yard. Remember, should you feel overwhelmed, the best course of action would be to seek the help of professionals.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here