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pharaoh ant

Introduction

Even though their name suggests otherwise, pharaoh ants are thought to have been introduced from African regions, not Egypt. Pharaoh ants are found throughout the United States including Missouri. They are most known for spreading disease pathogens in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Recognition

Pharaoh ants are a small species with workers only growing to be 1/16th of an inch in length; queens are slightly larger in size and can grow to be about 1/8th of an inch in length. They have a 12-segmented antenna with a 3-segmented club on the end. These ants are pale red to yellowish-brown; their abdomens are usually darker and are sometimes almost black.

Biology

Pharaoh ants live in very large colonies that contain hundreds of thousands of workers and hundreds of reproductive females. The lifecycle of the pharaoh ant begins with the female and male mating within the nest. A young queen and some workers, larvae, and pupae “bud” from the nest and will create a new colony in a nearby location.

Worker ants develop from egg to adult in about 38 days. The lifespan of workers is about 9 to 10 weeks. Males only live for approximately 3 to 5 weeks after mating, and the queens live between 4 and 12 weeks.

Pharaoh ants are known for carrying and transmitting a large variety of bacteria and diseases including salmonella and Streptococcus. Pharaoh ants can become a huge problem inside places like hotels, grocery stores, homes, apartment complexes, and hospitals. When these ants enter hospitals, they can cause a lot of health problems by entering wounds, IV bags, and even into the mouths or eyes of sleeping patients.

Habits

Outside, pharaoh ants nest in shaded areas and underneath piles of organic debris. Inside, they like to nest in warm, humid areas that are located near their food sources. Indoor nesting sites include behind baseboards, behind wall voids, under floors, and even in furniture.

Pharaoh ants feed on things like sweets, oils, proteins, and dead insects. They will typically move inside or between homes and other buildings using electrical wires and cables as “roads”.

Pharaoh ants will nest and hide in very hard to reach areas in your home. They will also contaminate food sources, have multiple nesting sites, and, in general, will become a huge annoyance. This species of ant is particularly difficult to get rid of without professional help.

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Prevention

Prevention tips for keeping pharaoh ants from choosing your home to nest and forage for food in include:

  • Make sure to regularly remove trash from your home and place it in outdoor trash cans with tight fitting lids until trash pick-up day.

  • Place trashcans, woodpiles, and compost piles a distance away from the exterior of your home.

  • Reduce areas of high humidity in your home by using dehumidifiers and/or air-conditioners.

  • Seal any cracks or crevices in your home’s foundation or exterior walls.

  • Install door sweeps on all exterior doors.

  • Caulk spaces and gaps found around exterior windows and doors.

  • Clean up spills and crumbs and regularly wash dirty dishes.

Control

The most effective way to control pharaoh ants in your home and on your property is with the help of a professional pest control expert. When you contact Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions for ant control, a trained technician will inspect your home and find where pharaoh ants are nesting and foraging for food. We will then provide control services that eliminate these ants.

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