Reports flooded in this morning, September 5th, of swarms all over Tucson. People from many different locations throughout Southern Arizona reported seeing small winged creatures swarming about one to twenty feet off the ground above a nest where many more insects lay on the ground below. It turns out, these critters are Harvester ants, and they were swarming in hopes of finding a mate!
Reproductive members of a Harvester ant colony will leave the nest in search of a mate, typically during one or two days each year. What is truly amazing is that most Harvester ant colonies all begin this mating process at almost the same exact day! This usually happens in late summer to early fall, depending on weather, moisture and other factors. The ants exit their mound, take flight and search for a mate using chemicals called pheromones. The ants then return to the ground with their newfound partner and finish the mating process.
Harvester ants are very prevalent in the Southwest. They typically prefer desert climates and tend to stay away from homes and urban areas but as we build structures further into their territory, we are bound to run into one another. When threatened, Harvester ants will defend themselves and sting what they perceive as a threat! So use caution, and remember to contact Truly Nolen for your free inspection if you see these or any other pests near your home or business!