Commercial Pest Control

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh Ants – The Facts

What does a pharaoh ant look like?

The ginger pharaoh ant is tiny measuring only 2mm in length. It is called the pharaoh ant because it is believed to have been one of the insect plagues of Ancient Egypt, and it is likely that the pharaoh ant does hail from more tropical zones of the world, as in the UK, it cannot survive outdoor temperatures.

How quickly do pharaoh ants multiply?

A pharaoh ant colony will hold up to 200 queens who lay 100’s of eggs each day. It takes 40 days for the eggs to become mature ants. As the colony grows, small groups of ants that include at least one queen and a hoard of workers, will leave their colony and set up another colony elsewhere in the building. It takes only six months for one colony to infest a six storey building with hundreds of satellite nests. This process is also knows as budding.

monomorium-pharaonis-worker-with-sugar-crystal_lWhere do pharaoh ants live?

As they are so small, pharaoh ants can set up a nest in the most inaccessible of places, reached through hairline cracks and near invisible openings. As seekers of warmth, they prefer sites with heating such as bathrooms and kitchens. Pharaoh ants are a serious problem for terraced houses, blocks of flats, hospitals and hotels as these buildings are both centrally heated and rich sources of food.

What are the signs of a pharaoh ant infestation?

  • An infested property will show active trails of pharaoh ants across its walls and leading from their nests to food sources.
  • In the home, there are no cupboards that are safe from these foragers. Pharaoh ants will chew through cereal, grain and rice packets as well as slip under jam jar lids.
  • Pharaoh ants love meat and protein rich foods. Pet food is an attractive lure, as well as rubbish bins where meaty scraps have been discarded.
  • In hospitals, pharaoh ants find freshly changed bandages a desirable food venue, as well as open wounds and the sugary substance in intravenous drips.

Does a pharaoh ant infestation need controlling?

  • Yes. Pharaoh ants are a very serious health risk.
  • As pharaoh ants feed on disease ridden sites such as bandages and open wounds, they are known to spread infection.
  • Because they can enter small crevices and chew through rubber, pharaoh ants often cause damage to wiring and other containers.
  • Pharaoh ants spread diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and several forms of food poisoning.
  • It is not advisable to self-treat a pharaoh ant infestation. Spraying insecticide onto a suspected nest, only causes some of the population to move on and create several more nests deeper in the fabric of the building.
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Photo credit: Julian.szulc / / CC BY