Pharaoh ants are considered to be indoor pests and can be found all over the world in houses, flats, office buildings, hospitals, and restaurants. Although they probably appeared in tropical areas in Africa, they now almost do not nest outdoors.
These are rather small and invisible insects due to the light color of their bodies and their transparency. Their highly organized colonies can include up to millions of individuals and are able to join together forming a super-colony operating as a single system. Killing pharaoh ants can be very difficult.
Why are these species of ants so bad?
It is important to mention that their particular appearance makes it hard to control pharaoh ants. They live in unreachable places like wall voids and spread quickly all over the house. Moreover, if they are disturbed in some way, for example by overheating in winter, they do not leave but send a part of the colony to locate in other places taking up more space.
Of course, everybody hates to have these occupants in the building. However, there is a much more important reason to take measures as soon as possible to prevent them! The pharaoh ants pose a hazard to a human health transmitting malignant bacteria such as Streptococcus spp., Salmonella spp., and dangerous Staphylococcus spp. In addition, the pharaoh ants bite and it is difficult to believe but they can eat a man by entering his wounds when he is sleeping.
Bio data and environmental conditions
Monomorium pharaonis create large colonies consisting of workers, queens, males, eggs, larvae and pupae. The workers and males are about 2 mm long, while a female is about 5 mm. You can see the obvious difference in pictures of pharaoh ants. During its life, lasting about a year, a queen usually lays about 400 eggs in a dozen batches. The larvae hatch in a week or five days. After 18 days, pupae is formed, which will be left by adults in 2-4 weeks. The temperature and humidity can influence the speed of these processes. In general, the whole period from eggs to adults takes 38 days for workers. The males and queens come in 45 days. The lifetime of worker ants is 9-10 weeks. Males live for about 5 weeks after mating.
In order to migrate, a queen with some workers walks to a new place and starts a new colony. These colonies may be connected or behave as separate ones if they are situated far enough from each other. Thus, the foragers of pharaoh ants can make trails between nests and places where they find food or water. It is possible to find them behind baseboards along pipes and wires in the walls. These pests don’t build tunnels.
The pharaoh ants in the house can survive eating almost any food including other insects both living and dead. They can be attracted by cakes, jellies, grease and even shoe cream. They prefer dark and warm places with high humidity. This type of pharaoh ants forages usually at night, but can be found active in the daylight hours.
Preventive measures and pharaoh ants treatment
You know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This proverb is particularly true for pharaoh ant control. That is why you should follow these recommendations:
- Keep your house or other spaces clean including floors, tabletops in the kitchen and pet plates.
- Store food in the fridge or seal the containers tightly if they are on the shelves within the reach of insects.
- Permit no excessive humidity in the house excluding leaks of different kinds.
- Watch fruits and vegetables brought into the house so they are washed carefully.
- If you live in a subtropical area and prefer not getting rid of pharaoh ants, but prevent them, then restrict their entry from outside, arranging a meter long dry and vegetation-free border made of stones (for example) around the building.
- Do not forget to have thorough inspections from time to time, examining sinks, pipes, electrical wires and outlets, carpets, cabinets, looking into false ceilings, behind baseboards, windowsills and other places hidden from view.
If it happens that you see the ants, you should act immediately. First of all, you should hide food and water as much as possible in order to make the pests starve. For the purpose of pharaoh ants extermination, apply residual insecticides according to the directions on the packaging or natural baits within the given recommendations. It is better to choose slow-acting baits in order to give the ant workers some time to deliver the poisoned bait to the other ants in the colony. It can take about a week or two after the treatment until all of the pests try it. If you still can see the pests in the house after a month and you do not know how to kill pharaoh ants, you’d better turn to the pest management professionals for help.
How do you get rid of pharaoh ants?
This article contains the most effective tips for eliminating ants, please read
Pharaoh ants may be killed by typical pharaoh ant bait placed near the areas they travel by directing them with talc sprinkled on the surface so that they can find the bait quicker. Natural baits that can be used include boric acid, yeast, or borax. You should treat the ant trails and the areas where you have seen insects with one of the following pharaoh ants bait:
- One teaspoon of boric acid is added to a glass of water where a teaspoon of sugar has been dissolved.
- The yeast must be dissolved in a glass of water until you get a kind of paste, in which you should put some sugar to make it sweet and attractive for ants.
- The borax is mixed with the same quantity of sugar.
In order to get rid of pharaoh ants you can also apply special products like liquid insecticide concentrate or indoor ant kits consisting of:
- convenient bait plate stations;
- several kinds of baits for different dietary needs, for example with sugar, grease or based on protein;
- a non-repellant spray, which can be used for some places together with bait.