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Western Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex occidentalis)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Western Harvester Ant, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/8/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Western Harvester Ant  
Picture of Western-Harvester-Ant
Picture of Western-Harvester-Ant Picture of Western-Harvester-AntPicture of Western-Harvester-AntPicture of Western-Harvester-Ant

Western Harvester Ant colonies are commonly found in bare patches of ground and should be walked around, not through.

Western Harvester Ants are large ants compared to common urban species. They can form colonies of up of 3,000 workers that are often active and visible around the opening of the underground nest. Females have wings and will swarm during the summer season. They eat plant seeds and other insects.

Plants around or near the colony are removed (by them) to allow full sun, which can subsequently remove habitat from other encroaching insects. Nests are covered with gravel or loose soil. Activity tends to slow down during the hottest hours of the day (noon to 4pm). They are aggressive defenders of their home, so anything or anyone disturbing or damaging entrances will be subjected to biting and stinging. Their jaws are large and strong, so bites are painful and will leave a mark. Removal of colonies can be done by professional exterminators.

Picture of the Western Harvester Ant
Picture of the Western Harvester Ant

Western Harvester Ant Information

Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common Name: Western Harvester Ant
Scientific Name: Pogonomyrmex occidentalis

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Hymenoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Formicidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Pogonomyrmex
       Arrow graphic Species: occidentalis

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 5 mm to 9 mm (0.195 inches to 0.351 inches)
Identifying Colors: red, brown
Additional Descriptors: large, fast, biting, stinging, painful, group, colony

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; North Dakota; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Dakota; Texas; Utah; Washington; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; ; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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