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Harvester ants

I live in a desert area of Arizona. When I first looked at my house it had hundreds of dead, winged ants on the floor and on the roof. Now that I am living in the house, I am finding them again. Most of the time they are alive, but die off quickly. They are dark in color, are winged, and have a pointy rear end, or gaster. I was told they get in through the chimney of my fireplace and I've read that some ants swarm to the chimney tops to attract females. After I moved in I found thousands of dead ants on the roof, behind switchplates and inside the guts of my propane fireplace. What are they and how do I keep them out of the house? Thank you.

Purely guessing, I think you may be seeing Harvester ants, a Ponomyrmex species. I say this because the Harvesters, locally called Pogos, are a common ant. The description;dark color, and gaster(abdomen) reference described, plus the numerous winged forms seen, makes me believe that I am correct about the genus, but not the species.

These ants have a stinger. If one is stung they can make one ill, or in rare cases, kill by anaphylactic impact.

You could lower a plastic strip of DDVP, known as ProZap Insect Guard down the chimney, close the flue and reduce the roof opening so as to allow the toxic vapors to permeate the chimney.

Spraying with a pyrethroid known as deltamethrin, or more commercially known as Suspend.

Let me know how your schedule permits your implementing these suggested products.

Best Regards Marc,

George Manning
Consulting Entomologist


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