Harvester Ants

Pogonomyrmex spp.

harvester ant

Harvester ant (Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org)

nest entrance

Harvester ant nest entrance (Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

harvester ant nest

Harvester ant nest (Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)


  • red to brown to black
  • larger ants; 1/5 – 1/2 inch long
  • two nodes (bumps between middle and rear body sections)
  • workers of different sizes
  • row of hairs on the underside of the head
  • spines on back sometimes present

Nesting Habits

  • nests appear as flat, bare circular patches of soil averaging 12 feet in diameter
  • nests may be several feet deep


  • seeds and insects


  • inflict painful stings when disturbed; some species leave stingers in the wound
  • do not invade homes but are occasional pests of lawns and playgrounds
  • swarm from June – October 
  • strip large areas of grass in turf areas

IPM Recommendations

  • Use granular ant baits labeled for lawn use around the nest opening.

Additional Resources:

IPM for Ants: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)