Pharaoh Ant

Category:

Actual Size: 1/16″ to ⅛”

Characteristics: Small; typically light yellow to red, with black markings on the abdomen.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Nests are often located in inaccessible spots near moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, interior wall voids, under floors, and behind baseboards.

Habits:

  • Very drawn to moisture and spots with excess water.
  • Colonies are very large with over 300,000 individuals and multiple queens
  • Potentially dangerous in hospitals due to their ability to transmit disease organisms

Pharaoh Ants in Puerto Rico

One of the most persistent and difficult ants to control in the San Juan or Ponce area is the pharaoh ant. Due to their large colonies, which contain up to several million workers and thousands of queens, they are challenging to eliminate. An invasive species, they outnumber native ants, forcing them out of the area. Pharaoh ant colonies can quickly split and form new colonies when disrupted. Because of their splintering ability, they can spread throughout homes and buildings rapidly.

Pharaoh Ant Habitat & Diet

Searching for food round the clock, pharaoh ants feed on sweets, proteins, and live or dead insects. Nests are often located near a water resource, such as sprinkler systems and evaporative cooling units. Inside homes and businesses, Pharaoh ant nests are generally located in hard-to-reach locations near moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, under floors, and behind baseboards. In hospitals, nursing homes, and food-processing facilities, they appear in kitchens, laundries, boiler rooms, and around heating ducts, toilets, and pipes. Pharaoh ants utilize electrical wiring and plumbing pipes to travel from room to room, which allows them to gain access throughout an entire structure.

Pharaoh Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although pharaoh ants do not bite, they carry and transmit a number of dangerous pathogens to people and pets, including salmonella and streptococcus. Due to their small size, they can access almost any space, contaminating food and food prep surfaces in kitchens and cafeterias as they forage. When they invade hospitals and nursing homes, they can contaminate sterile operating rooms, surgical equipment, and recovery rooms. Furthermore, most conventional pest control treatments do not control pharaoh ants. If a pharaoh ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.