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How Often Do Arizona Pest Control Professionals Address Harvester Ant Infestations That Pose A Medical Threat To The Occupants Of Infested Homes?

It is probably safe to say that most Arizona residents are aware that numerous venomous and medically threatening animals inhabit their home state, including snakes, spiders, scorpions, ants, wasps, bees, and even lizards. It is also common knowledge that virtually all spiders in the state, while venomous and intimidating to look at, are harmless to humans. Of course, the western black widow and a few recluse spider species are exceptions in this regard. In Arizona, bees are more deadly than snakes, and this is due to the abundance of Africanized honey bees (killer bees) in the state. The Arizona bark scorpion has the potential to inflict deadly bites, but quality medical care makes fatal scorpion stings unheard of in the southwest US. Many Arizona residents are under the impression that red-imported fire ants can be found near their homes, but these hazardous ants were actually eradicated from the state years ago. However, extremely venomous harvester ants are abundant around Arizona homes.

The stings inflicted by harvester ants are considered to be among the most painful, and the venom produced by these ants is more toxic than that of all other insect species documented. A little more than 24 harvester ant species have been documented in North America, most of which can be found in Arizona. Studies have shown that southern fire ants and multiple harvester ant species are responsible for the vast majority of medically significant ant stings that occur in Arizona. The three harvester ant species considered to be a public health threat in Arizona are commonly known as rough, red and Maricopa harvester ants. The red harvester ant has caused two documented deaths. In one case, a Tucson man went into anaphylactic shock after one single red harvester ant stung his upper thigh. Apparently, the ant crawled into the man’s shorts while he had been sitting on a sidewalk.

Harvester ants are considered medically threatening pests due to their abundance in urban and suburban areas of Arizona, particularly Phoenix and Tucson. Luckily, harvester ants are not likely to invade homes, but one study found that Arizona pest control companies address harvester ant infestations frequently. In fact, harvester ant infestations around Arizona homes are becoming increasingly common due to the rate at which new homes are being built in their desert habitat.

Have you ever had an encounter with harvester ants?



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