PHARAOH ANTS


bugs
Pharaoh ants may have up to 300,000 workers with multiple queens nesting in wall and cabinet voids, behind baseboards, behind refrigerator insulation, inside hollow curtain rods, or in the folds of sheets, clothes, or paper. They follow plumbing and wiring and have been found in light switches and electrical outlets. In colder climates they prefer to nest in heated buildings. Colonies are very mobile; workers, along with larvae, pupae, and even a few queens, may move to new locations if disturbed or if colony becomes too large. New nests can be formed by “budding” with as few as 5 workers, 10 preadults, and one queen migrating from the original colony. Development time (egg to adult) for workers is about 38 days at 80 degrees F. Workers live about 9-10 weeks, with only up to 10% out foraging at any given time. Queens live about 4-12 months, and males die about 3-5 weeks after mating.

Health Issues

In some areas, this ant has become a major pest of residences, food plants, factories, office buildings, apartments, and hospitals. Infestations in hospitals have become a chronic problem in Europe and the United States where burn victims and newborns are subjected to increased risk because the Pharaoh ant can transmit over a dozen pathogenic pathogens. Pharaoh ants have been observed seeking moisture from the mouths of sleeping infants and from in-use bottles.

Control

Control of Pharaoh ants is difficult, due to their nesting in inaccessible areas. Treatment must be thorough and complete at all nesting sites, as well as the foraging area. Thus, treatment must include walls, ceilings, floor voids, and electrical wall outlets. Baits are now the preferred method of control for Pharaoh ants and several baits (insecticides) are labelled for indoor ant control. A Pharaoh Ant infestation of a multifamily building requires treatment of the entire building to control the infestation. Ants nesting on the outside may be controlled by also using a perimeter barrier treatment.

Baits cannot be placed in just any location and be expected to work. Pharaoh ant trails and both food & water must be located for proper placement of baits and effective control. Non-repellent baits (such as boric acid, hydramethylon or sulfonamide) should be used, as repellent baits can worsen the situation by causing the colony to fracture.

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