Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex)
If you want to locate harvester ants, look for a ring of seed husks around the nest. Harvester ants collect and store seeds. In the nest, using their powerful jaws, the largest workers remove the husks, then throw them outside the nest. They chew the kernels into a soft pulp and feed it to the growing larvae. During drought, if the adult ants are unable to find anything edible outside the nest, they will eat the seeds, too.
During rainy periods, the ants will not allow the seeds to become damp, otherwise they would sprout or get moldy. When there is a dry day, the workers take the seeds outside to dry in the sun, then carry the seeds back again into storage. Sometimes these clever little ants will bite out the embryonic root of the seed to prevent sprouting.
Harvester ants can be found almost everywhere in the world. In the Southwestern United States, their huge mounds are a common sight. The nest of colonies of harvesting ants is like a village. The mound above ground may be 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) across and 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more into the ground, with 60,000 to 90,000 members.
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