Pharaoh Ants

Prevention from Pharaoh Ants

The best prevention against Pharaoh Ants is a clean home or workplace. Given their small size, even as ants would be measured, they can nest in extremely small areas.  No having food to attract them is the best tactic for keeping them away.

Size Comparison of Pharaoh Ant

Making sure a home or office is weather proof, is another way of preventing pharaoh ant entry. Since pharaoh ants prefer water in close proximity, making sure that all plumbing is in good repair and not leaking will aid in prevention pharaoh ant invasions from outside.

Use double sided tape to help prevent the ants from climbing onto furniture such as a table. Place the double sided tape around table legs so that the ants would have to travel across the tape.

Pharoah Ants stuck in a sticky trap

Pharaoh Ant Food Sources

Pharaoh Ants eat a wide variety of foods including; sweets, bread, meat and other products. They have even been found feeding on shoe polish. They have been known to chew through paper, plastic and rubber. This allows them access to otherwise insect proof packaging. These ants will go a long way to get food. Often they will exceed 100 ft between nest and food source.

Dangers Posed by Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ant

Due to the minuscule size of pharaoh ants relative to other ants, they get into otherwise impossible locations, such as electrical wiring, electronics, and medical instruments. They are so small they have been found crawling in I.V. Tubing inside hospitals. In hospitals this can be extremely alarming as they can transmit disease from sources such as bed pans and plumbing into otherwise sterile products such as bandages.

Nest of pharaoh ants in electrical plug

Controlling Pharaoh Ants with Professional Products and Techniques

Unlike most ants, Pharaoh Ants should not be treated with a spray. These ants are sensitive to chemical smells, and they commonly react to a spray by moving or splitting the nest, thereby multiplying the problem.  To treat these ants it´s best to use a bait, that contains an insect growth regulator. It is important when using bait that it is formulated in both sugar and meat flavors or the ants will stop visiting the bait station. Never spray before baiting, or you run the risk of not killing the queens which will allow the colony to survive.

Origin and Migration of Pharaoh Ants in the U.S.

Pharaoh Ants are thought to have originated in Africa or Indonesia. They spread from there through the trade routes around the world during the late 1800’s. They can now be found almost everywhere as long as it is warm and wet enough.

Map of Pharaoh Ants in the world

Pharaoh Ant Habitat and Range

Pharaoh Ants cover most of the known world. Commonly they can be found in and around human habitation in dry areas, usually seeking sources of water.  They are able to nest in the smallest of areas, including, between sheets of paper or an electrical socket, sometimes even in the upper half of a forgotten cup.

Pharaoh Ant queen being tended

Pharaoh Ant Biology

Pharaoh Ants are small in size averaging about a 1/16th of an inch. They are Yellow brown in color darkening toward their rear end. These ants have unusually large nests numbering into the millions. This is because the nests support a large number of Queens, several hundred on average.

Unlike many ants, instead of a new nest being built by an impregnated queen, pharaoh ants build new nests by splitting up old nests.  These colonies can have several hundred workers and several queens along with eggs and young permitting quick nest growth and rapid infestation.

For more information on ants and ant species, visit our page on Ant Control

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Pharaoh Ant References

Texas A & M Field guide for Pharaoh Ants

University of California Davis I.P.M. Pharaoh Ant Guide’s_ant.htm

Urban Entomology – Texas A&M – Pharaoh Ants


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