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Although the origin of the Pharaoh Ant is uncertain, they have become widespread in distribution and can be found throughout most of the world, including the United States. It’s thought that the ants may have gotten their name from the idea that they were one of the plagues of ancient Egypt. Much like other invasive ant species, the Monomorium pharaonis can expand fast and form enormous populations.
Pharaoh ants require warm and humid conditions, meaning that they are more likely to be confined in buildings. These pests have become a common nuisance in rest homes, hospitals, grocery stores, and apartments.
One of the reasons why these ants are hard to control is because they have a habit of splitting from parent colonies, in what is known as budding. Pharaoh ants reproduce quickly, so when the colony starts becoming overcrowded, they break off from the original colony and form new nesting sites elsewhere. The original colony may use these new areas if the first nest becomes unsuitable or threatened for some reason, such as temperature changes or a major disturbance.
How To Identify Pharaoh Ants
The most distinctive feature that you can use to differentiate pharaoh ants from other species is their color.
Color: Pharaoh ants are yellow to light brown, but their queens have a reddish hue.
Size: Workers measure 2mm, or about 1/16th of an inch in length, with queens being twice as long.
Bodily Features: They have six legs and their antennae have 12 segments with a well-defined, 3-segment club. Their abdominal pedicel features two segments, the petiole, and post-petiole. The two nodes and the abdomen have no spine. The pharaoh ant’s abdomen is darker than the rest of its body.
Habitat: These ants need warm and humid conditions to thrive, so they’re usually found indoors. You’ll find them under floors, behind baseboards, between walls, and between linens.
Diet: Pharaoh ants will consume almost everything. They’re capable of eating simple proteins, fat, carbohydrates, sweet-based materials, and other insects. Some examples of things these creatures can use for food include pet food, sponges, fruit, bread, and even dead animals.
Are Pharaoh Ants Dangerous
Unlike most ants that are more of a nuisance than a danger to your health, pharaoh ants are considered a threat, especially in hospitals since they can transmit diseases such as staphylococcus, salmonella, and dysentery. Their small size allows them to get into even the most secure food packaging. This means that when they get into your home, they can contaminate your food with germs picked up from traveling through trash cans, the outdoors, and other buildings.
How to Prevent and Control Pharaoh Ants
Since pharaoh ants will only stay in a warm and humid environment that has plenty of food, the best prevention measure is to make sure these elements are not present. First, you should keep your food in sealed containers and keep the pet food covered. Seal all crevices and cracks around doors, windows, walls, sinks and tubs, fix leaky pipes and faucets, and make sure that you keep your home clean at all times.
Since pharaoh ants have very large colonies, sometimes with multiple, cooperative nests in a building that they can use to hide from people looking to uproot them, they are extremely challenging to control and eradicate. The best approach if you want to exterminate them is to hire an experienced pest control professional. The technician will come up with a plan that will help you reach all of the different nesting areas to get rid of them for good.