Swarming California Harvester Ants

Subject: California Harvester Ants
Location: Red Car Property, Silver Lake, Los Angeles
June 23, 2014 1:57 am
Hi Bugman,
I might of happened across some future queens leaving the nest of one of the Harvester Ant colonies on the north end of the Red Car Property in Silver Lake (Los Angeles).
The winged ants were 3 times larger than the small ants ushering them out of the nest. The workers using the main entrance fall somewhere between these two in size.
Unfortunately, while attempting to get a better shot, I cast a shadow over this entrance. The small ants quickly ushered the winged ants back into the nest, while others came out to defend against intruders. Mostly they just ran around posturing, and checking the perimeter, then returned to the nest
more: http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/2014/06/viaduct-footings-california-harvester.html
I was looking for references to Harvester Ants & was surprised (although I shouldn’t be) that they’ve disappeared from your neighborhood. We’ve got several thriving colonies on the north end of the Red Car Property. The colonies on the vacant lots on my part of the neighborhood have disappeared as the vacant Hillside lots have either been built or used for parking in the past 10 years.
As always, thanks!
Signature: Diane E

Swarming California Harvester Ants
Swarming California Harvester Ants

Hi Diane,
We are positively thrilled to get this marvelous addition to our site, especially since it sheds a bit of light on our failure to follow through with a posting we wanted to make regarding a Mount Washington sighting.  When we moved to Mount Washington in the mid 90s, we would often see California Harvester Ants in the street outside our house as well as on the nearby south facing hillside.  Then we moved to another nearby location in 2000, and we stopped seeing the California Harvester Ants, instead being plagued by the invasive Argentine Ants.  Local entomologist Julian Donahue cannot recall ever seeing California Harvester Ants in Mount Washington, so while walking to a friend’s house the second week in June when we espied a lone Harvester Ant on the sunny south facing slope near our old home, we decided we needed to return with a camera to document the sighting.  Alas, time ran out and it did not get it done, but it is still on the back burner.  Your submission has inspired our crack photographic staff to to head out later today to try to find some worker Harvester Ants in our own neighborhood.  We are happy to hear they are also thriving in nearby Silverlake.

Swarming California Harvester Ants
Swarming California Harvester Ants

Glad to help out – I had no idea you hadn’t seen them in so long.  But it makes sense with all the development over there.  I used to see a lot more 20 years ago all over my hood…

California Harvester Ant habitat on Red Car Property
California Harvester Ant habitat on Red Car Property


1 thought on “Swarming California Harvester Ants”

  1. I have an annual swarm of red harvester ants – they hilltop on my chimneys for a few weeks late June/early July every year for the past 5 years. They are so bad this year that we put sheets over the chimneys as we were vacuuming up thousands of ants several times a day. Hope this means we have lots of horned lizards nearby!


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