Pharaoh Ants

Quick Stats

  • Latin Name: Monomorium pharaonis
  • Size: 1/16” long
  • Color: Pharaoh ants are light yellow to reddish. They have a darker abdomen.
  • Found in: These ants are found all over the United States.
  • Overview: The pharaoh ants build colonies indoors and cause substantial problems in commercial locations such as hospitals. These yellowish ants are intelligent and have a short lifespan.

About Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are originally from Africa and are currently found all over the world. Pharaoh ants typically live indoors in commercial or residential locations. They thrive in areas that have consistently mild temperatures, although they can also be found in the tropics. They are found all over the United States but cannot survive the outside winter temperatures in the North.

Pharaoh ants prefer a balanced diet and rotate between protein- and carbohydrate-rich meals. They will eat all human food and dead insects. Like other ants, they also need water to survive. They live in polygamous colonies meaning there are multiple queens. Every ant has a specific role in the colony whether it is searching for food, gathering the food, caring for the eggs or building the colonies. When there is a shortage of food, workers will feed themselves first before giving food to the queen because if the queen doesn’t survive in the colony, they will raise a new queen. A Pharaoh queen has a lifespan of four to twelve months. When a colony becomes too large, these ants go through a process called budding to set up new colonies. The ideal size for a new colony is just under 500 ants.

Facts About These Ants

Pharaoh ants cause massive problems in commercial establishments like hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. They contaminate food and can spread disease. Another unique fact about Pharaoh ants is the number of pheromones they release. Most ants use positive pheromones to mark when a source of food is located while Pharaoh ants release both positive and negative pheromones from their stinger. They give out three unique scents. The first lasts for several days and is used to quickly find the source of nourishment. The second pheromone is also a positive tracker but it only lasts a short time. The third pheromone is negative and tells other forging ants to stay away from a location because there isn’t anything to eat.

Signs of an Argentine Infestation

A problem may be difficult to spot because these ants nest in inconspicuous spaces like floorboards, furniture and hollow walls. Pharaoh ants like dark uninterrupted spaces and will tunnel through cable and electrical wires to find food. The worker ants are light yellow in color and look for food during the day. Finding the yellow ants is the best way to find the nest.

Pharaoh ants do not attack humans, but do pose risk for patients in hospitals, as they have been known to carry disease and enter into IV bags.
It is recommended not to use spray to terminate pharaoh ants, as it will cause them to bud and start new colonies. Call a pest professional to treat the infestation.

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