Facts, Identification & Control
The Pharaoh ant is the most difficult household ant to control.
Where do they live?
They nest in any dark void in a structure including wall voids, cabinet voids, behind baseboards and window moldings, behind insulation of appliances, inside hollow curtain and shower rods, boxes and expansion joints in slabs, within layers of bed linen and clothes. They may even be found in areas such as folded paper sacks and newspapers. Outside, these ants can be found in leaf litter, piles of trash, flower pots and in the debris of rain gutters.
How do they live?
The ant has 4 life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Approximately 38 days are required for development of workers from egg to adult; males and queens take approximately 42 days for development from egg to adult. Queens can produce 400 or more eggs in batches of 10 to 12. Queens can live 4 to 12 months, while males die within 3 to 5 weeks after mating.
The size of the colony tends to be large and can vary from several thousand to even several hundred thousand individuals.
Numerous daughter colonies are produced when a queen and a few workers break off from the mother colony.
How do they affect us?
Pharaoh ants consume a wide variety of foods but show a marked preference for sugars, grease and fats. They can spread disease pathogens like salmonella by traveling through unsanitary areas and then walking on food and kitchen surfaces when foraging for meals. They tend to create potentially dangerous problems due to the types of buildings they choose to infest. In hospitals, for instance, Pharaoh ants can gain entry into sterile packages, intravenous tubes and solutions, and even the open wounds of patients.
How do we control them?
Control of Pharaoh ants is difficult, since they nest in areas that are hard to reach. Treatment must be thorough and complete at all nesting sites, as well as the foraging area. Baits are the preferred method of control for Pharaoh ants.