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Arizona Ants | Chandler bug/pest control by Bulwark Exterminating

Category: Arizona Ants

The Maricopa Harvester Ant: The Most Venomous Insect in the World

300px Ant head closeup The Maricopa Harvester Ant: The Most Venomous Insect in the World

The Maricopa Harvester Ant

Maricopa harvester ants are commonly found in most parts of Arizona, including Phoenix. It is perhaps most recognized as holding the record for having the most venomous sting of all insects. The ant is about three centimeters long, and it spends its entire life in the desert areas. Maricopa harvester ants have two pairs of membranous wings, yet they will not have them for the greater part of their life. They build gigantic nests that can measure more than 30 feet in diameter and reach heights of six feet. However, these massive nests are only common if natural forces do not destroy them, or if the nest is not invaded by other ant species.

Appearance

Maricopa harvester ants range in color from bright red to dark brown. They range in size from one centimeter to three centimeters, depending on their age. Like most insects, they have three body segments; the head, the abdomen, and the thorax. While most of the ants people see are wingless, Maricopa harvester ants due in fact possess wings. The male ants will lose their wings and die after they mate, while the females will just lose their wings. A feature that also separates this species of ant from others is that they possess a stinger that is similar to that of a bee. They use their stingers as a defense against invading creatures, and to capture their prey.

Nutrition

Like all other harvester ants, the Maricopa harvester ant is a forager. They are sent from their nests to gather seeds and dead insects and bring them back to their nest to share with the colony. Maricopa harvester ants will forage up to 33 feet away from the nest in order to make sure that they bring back enough food for the entire colony.

Venom

Maricopa harvester ants contain the most toxic venom of all insects. The venom is a mixture of amino acids, peptides, and proteins. The ant injects its venom after it attaches to their victim by clinging on to them with their pinchers. After it has attached, it will position itself so its stinger is facing towards the victim. The ant will then sting as many times as it can before it is dislodged or killed.

The venom from the Maricopa harvester ant is twelve times more powerful than that of a honeybee. A four and a half pound rat could be killed by as few as twelve stings, and a 150 lb human could be killed by about 350 stings. To get the same mortality rate from a bee, a human would have to be stung well over 10,000 times, without an allergic reaction taking place. While this may seem like a high number of stings it is very low compared to the amount of stings from other insects. The most dangerous aspect of an attack is when the first ant stings it’s victim it will release pheromones that signal other members of the colony to come and attack as well.

Ant Control

As Phoenix residents, we are often more focused on keeping the deadly Arizona Bark Scorpions out of our homes. The truth is that Maricopa harvester ants can be just as deadly as scorpions if left untreated. If you are having ant problems of any kind, it’s pest that you contact a Phoenix pest control professional to help eliminate the ants before they find you or your family.

Bulwark Exterminating
10401 N 91st Ave
Peoria, AZ 85345
(623) 572-3016
bulwarkpestcontrol.com

Bulwark Exterminating
1228 East Broadway Road
Mesa, AZ 85204
(480) 969-7474
bulwarkpestcontrol.com

Orkin Pest & Termite Control
3830 West Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85019
(866) 713-9979
orkin.com

What is a turtle ant?

Turtle ants are large headed ants that use their large heads to close off the entrances to their nests. Thus the name reflects the ability to protect the ant colony by using their hard heads. Much the way a turtle protects itself with its thick skin… Yes, I know its called a turtle shell, but referencing thick skinned turtles and hard headed ants is much more entertaining. Of course it’s also cliche to note that the big headed ant uses its head like a jock uses his fists.

Another shot of the hard headed turtle ant.

Another shot of the hard headed turtle ant.

Interesting Fact About Ants in Arizona:

The state of Arizona had more ant species than any other state. So not only is home to the very unique turtle ant, but it is also home to many many more types of ants

Learn more about Phoenix ants at Phoenix ants .com

Arizona given $950,000 tax dollars to research Ants.

Recent reports from Senator Jon McCain on how tax paying dollars could be going to waste included a cool $950,000 given to the state of Arizona to research ants. The lucky ants are the turtle ant and the harvester ant. The money goes to ASU and U-of-A. Individuals argue that this money keeps scientist in Arizona which will be good for the recovering economy. Others complain that the ants are remaining employed while many in the state are not. A little further research reveals that the near million dollars supports a total of 3.5 jobs at the universities.

And yet the rasberry ant is causing major problems in Houston and south Texas. They short out stop lights, cause problems in water wells, displace local wild life, and shut down manufacturing plants. But oddly enough the University of Texas, who is currently doing research on the ever invasive Rasberry ant, doesn’t receive nearly the same amount to research this problematic Texas crazy ant…. and we call the ants crazy…

Reporting Online from your Phoenix Pest Controller
Phoenix Pest Control

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