Pharaoh Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ to ⅛”

Characteristics: Small; typically light yellow to red, with black markings on the abdomen. 

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Nests are often located in inaccessible spots near moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, interior wall voids, under floors, and behind baseboards.


  • Will nest outdoors under flat stones, sidewalks, and concrete slabs.
  • Attracted to moisture and will nest indoors in kitchens and bathrooms.  
  • Potentially dangerous in hospitals due to their ability to transmit disease organisms.

Pharoah Ants in Wisconsin

Pharaoh ants are found throughout Wisconsin and are known for being the most difficult household ant to control. Also known as tramp ants, this invasive species constructs colonies that splinter off and form new colonies when disturbed.  Quite often, these ants can be seen trailing along with carpets, countertops, and baseboards. Due to their splintering ability, Pharoah ant infestations can spread quickly in homes and buildings. Active day and night, Pharaoh ants feed on sweets, proteins, and live or dead insects.

Pharaoh Ant Habitat

Attracted to moisture-rich areas, Pharaoh ants nest outside in shaded areas or under debris. In household structures, nests are often located in inaccessible spots near moisture. Favorite locations include kitchens, bathrooms, interior walls voids, under floors, and behind baseboards. In institutional facilities, Pharaoh ants prefer kitchens, laundries, boiler rooms, bathrooms, and heating ducts. Traveling from room to room using electrical wires and plumbing pipes, Pharaoh ants can spread throughout a structure quickly.

Pharaoh Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Pharaoh ant bites can be painful, however, it is not poisonous. Their ability to spread more than a dozen disease pathogens is a real threat. Pharaoh Ants can spread salmonella and streptococcus, the presence of Pharaoh ants is an obvious danger in hospitals.  These ants are tiny and can access almost any space, contaminating food as they forage. Most importantly, they can survive most conventional household pest control treatments, making elimination difficult. If a Pharaoh ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a licensed ant exterminator.