Pharaoh Ant

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Pharaoh ants are notorious indoor pests that often go unnoticed due to their small size and color. They are one of the most difficult indoor pests to control.

Fast Facts

Color Pale yellow to reddish body with black shading on the top, rear portion of the abdomen.
Size Very small monomorphic workers about 1/12-1/16″ long.
Appearance Often mistaken for thief ants, they have 12-segmented antennae. They have two node segments and an uneven thorax with no spines. A stinger is present, but rarely extended and visible.

Diet

Pharaoh ants have a wide preference of foods, from syrups to fruits, sweets, meats, pet foods, and dead insects. They have a high daily water requirement. Workers forage for water just as aggressively as for food. They will “harvest” water from unusual sources, such as aquariums, pet dishes, condensation on plumbing fixtures and windows, refrigerator condensation pans, air conditioners and house plants.

Habitat

These ants nest almost anywhere, but prefer warm, humid areas near sources of food and water, in wall voids, behind baseboards, in furniture, under floors and between linens. They are commonly found in hospitals. Pharaoh ants commonly use electrical and telephone wires, plumbing and other utility lines as trail routes. Outdoors, these ants nest in debris collected on flat roofs, entering and exiting via poorly caulked or defective windows, under flashing and through holes.

Colonies & Life Cycle

These ants do not swarm; females mate within the nest and new colonies are formed by “budding”, which means that part of the main colony moves to a new location. There may be hundreds of thousands of ants within a colony. A female pharaoh ant produces 350-400 eggs in her lifetime. Workers live approximately 9-10 weeks and queens live 4-12 months.

Prevention & Control

Pharaoh Ant Prevention

Good sanitation practices will help prevent pharaoh ant infestations. Storing food in sealed containers, regularly washing dishes, cleaning up crumbs and spills promptly and using garbage containers with tight-fitting lids will help prevent pharaoh ants.

Pharaoh Ant Control

Baiting is the most reliable way to eliminate the entire colony. When choosing ant baits, it is best to choose from both the sugar-based baits and protein/grease-based baits. Pharaoh Ants may be very persistent and suddenly appear in various places.