Pharaoh ants are a common pest in the southern United States, and once they invade your home, they can be difficult to get rid of.
To effectively eliminate Pharaoh ants, it is best to use slow-acting ant baits that contain their preferred food sources, such as sugar, fat, insects, nectar, or honeydew. This approach ensures the foragers have enough time to return to the main colony with the bait.
However, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach to exterminate the existing infestation and prevent future ones. To achieve this, it’s essential to understand what Pharaoh ants are and how to prevent their re-entry into your home. By adopting these measures, you can eliminate these pesky ants and ensure they don’t make a comeback.
What are Pharaoh Ants?
Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) are small, light brown ants that are commonly found in the southern United States and around the world. They prefer warm environments and tend to invade homes to build their colonies. Unfortunately, they are difficult to eliminate because they split their colonies and can make their homes in various places such as behind appliances, beneath floors, or in walls.
Where Do Pharaoh Ants Come From?
Pharaoh ants are originally from Africa, but they have now spread to many parts of the world, including the United States. Despite their name, which has led to a common myth, they were not one of the ten plagues from the Bible.
What Do Pharaoh Ants Eat?
Pharaoh ants are typically drawn to sugar and fat-based products, crumbs, and other food sources commonly found in homes.
What Do Pharaoh Ants Look Like?
Pharaoh ants are small, measuring only about 2 mm in length. They are light yellow to brown and have a black stinger that is not functional.
• Pharaoh Ant Queen
Pharaoh ant queens are almost double the size of the worker ants, measuring around 4 to 5 mm, and are red to dark red. They also have wings that are not functional and lose them after the mating process. Some people may confuse Pharaoh ants with Thief ants.
What Causes Pharaoh Ants?
Pharaoh ants willingly relocate indoors because structures frequently give them all they need to thrive in cooler areas where they must survive.
Pharaoh ants have probably found sweet, greasy, or oily food, as well as water or wetness and warmth between 80 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, if you have noticed them in your home.
Where Pharaoh Ants Hide?
Pharaoh ants like to build their nests in moist, inaccessible locations close to food and/or water. Particularly popular rooms are the kitchen and bathroom.
Pharaoh ant colonies can be found in areas like these that are small and empty:
- Within walls or attic
- Under door frames and floors
- Around hot water pipes, sinks
- Around furniture or food
Do Pharaoh Ants Bite?
Pharaoh ants do bite, but their bites are not typically painful. The level of pain can be compared to that of a flea bite, and a red welt may appear for a few hours after the bite. Pharaoh ants use their mouth and mandibles to pinch the skin, as their stingers are not functional. This is fortunate because ants that can sting often cause extreme pain.
Are Pharaoh Ants Dangerous?
Pharaoh ants are not dangerous for their bites but because of their ability to spread different diseases and infections when they traverse through garbage. They are a problem in hospitals because they can jeopardize the lives of the patients.
Effective Methods to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants
Two primary methods can be used to get rid of Pharaoh ants: baiting and spraying. We’ll discuss both in greater detail below.
Method #1: Baiting
Baiting Pharaoh ants is a highly effective method for destroying their nests. Pharaoh ants are attracted to bait that contains chemicals that kill them within a few hours. When the foraging ants bring the bait back to the nest, the queen consumes it and dies, leading to the death of the entire colony.
To ensure the bait is effective, place the ant bait traps in areas where the Pharaoh ants typically search for food. Keep a close eye on the bait and replace it every few days when supplies run low.
Choosing the Right Bait
Choosing the right type of bait is crucial for successful ant removal. It’s important to ensure that the bait is something the Pharaoh ants will eat and doesn’t kill the foragers before they carry it back to the nest. To choose the right bait, consider the following tips:
- Use slow-acting bait – Powerful bait will only kill the foraging ants, leaving the main colony untouched. The queen will replace the lost foragers, not significantly reducing the ant problem.
- Use bait that contains food sources Pharaoh ants eat in nature, including plants, insects, honeydew, and nectar.
- Try different types of bait – By using baits that offer different food sources, you increase the likelihood that the Pharaoh ants will be attracted to at least one.
Best Ant Killer Baits for Pharaoh Ants
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Method #2: Spray Pesticides
Pharaoh ants are difficult to eliminate because they can split their colonies and build separate nests inside your home. If you try to spray pesticides, the ants may simply move to another area of your home. Therefore, it’s best to leave the spraying of pesticides to professional exterminators.
An experienced exterminator will spray the entire perimeter of your home to keep any additional Pharaoh ants away and try to get to the heart of the nest. However, spraying pesticides is not typically the most effective method of getting rid of Pharaoh ants.
Spraying pesticides should be considered a last resort if the ant problem in your home persists and seems to be worsening. Sometimes, it may be the only option if the infestation is severe.
Does Borax Kill Pharaoh Ants?
Borax does kill Pharaoh ants, and it is possible to make homemade ant baits with it. Homemade ant baits are very easy to make, simply mix borax with liquid sugar and place it where the Pharaoh ants are foraging. Borax is not deadly to humans, but for ants, it creates serious digestive problems that result in their death.
How to Prevent a Pharaoh Ant Infestation
Method #1: Keep Your Home & Yard Spotless
Pharaoh ants are attracted to sweet and fatty foods, so it’s important to clean your home regularly and eliminate any possible food sources. Make sure to clean the kitchen, sweep and vacuum the floors, and wipe down countertops and surfaces after food preparation.
Avoid leaving dirty dishes on the countertop. Also, keep piles of material and debris a good distance away from your house, and trim branches and bushes that are growing close to your home
Method #2: Invest in a Dehumidifier
Pharaoh ants thrive in hot and humid environments, so investing in a dehumidifier can help keep the moisture levels in your home low and make your home less desirable to this species of ant. Check for leaking pipes and seal them up so the ants don’t have a moist area to call home.
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Method #3: Seal Up Your House
To prevent Pharaoh ants from entering your home, it’s important to seal up every crease and crack. Inspect nearly every inch of your home and seal up any cracks with window/door caulk, cement, or other appropriate materials. Keep windows and doors closed whenever possible to minimize the entry points for Pharaoh ants.
While it’s impossible to block every possible entry, making your home unattractive to Pharaoh ants in the first place is the best way to prevent an infestation. the first place by making your home unattractive to them is the best option here.
List of Sources
Pharaoh ant – Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus), University of Florida
Pharaoh ant – Monomorium pharaonis, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
Kim, C. W., Kim, D. I., Choi, S. Y., Park, J. W., & Hong, C. S. (2005), Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis): newly identified important inhalant allergens in bronchial asthma, Journal of Korean medical science
Pharaoh Ant, Monomorium pharaonis, Texas A&M University
Pharaoh Ant, Utah State University
Klunker R., Scheurer S., Neumann T., Control of the Pharaoh’s ant with borax bait formulations
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