Talk to any individual who has suffered a sting from a red ant, and he will tell you that it was possibly the most painful sting he would have ever had, and that too from a non-reptile class of creature! That really is good introduction for Harvester ants, commonly known as red ants, and more specifically known for their painful stings.
The Maricopa Harvester Ant, a sub-species of harvester ants, is considered to be the most poisonous insect in the world.
Yet, a lot of discussion on Harvester ants revolves around Red Harvester Ants. At best, they have a scary appearance and look dangerous alright. They feed on seeds, which possibly also gives them their name.
These ants are considered to be rather aggressive. They spread their stings through their lymph nodes, which become a part of every red harvester ant from the time he or she is out of the pupa stage. In some cases, they have also been found to cause allergic reactions in the animal body.
One of the best places to find harvester ants (We donít recommend you to go looking around for these ants, unless for research purposes), are tranches and other grasslands. This habitat is good enough for harvester ants to set up their colonies, mate, and survive. Importantly, grassy environs also give these ants enough opportunity for them to get their food for survival.
Off late, a combination of a lot of factors has resulted in the decline of the population of red harvester ants. With increasing use of insecticides, it has been found that the population of these ants has been dwindling with alarming regularity. The fact that these ants are also common food sources for the Texas Honed Lizard means they get gobbled up by the lizard too.
There has been a lot of confusion though amongst people in identifying these ants. Some people confuse these ants with fire ants. Both these species may have similar characteristics, but are entirely different from one another.
The interesting anecdote about harvester ants is Ė They are good to be read in the books. The closer you get to them, the more uncomfortable you may start feeling. Of course, you could go jumping up and down in pain, if one of them manages to sting you.
Maintain safe distance and admire these beautiful yet venomous creatures of nature. Be armed with some protection though, if you really wish to go near them.