There are thousands of species of ants in the world. So many that many have yet to be discovered. Out of the millions of ants, there are only a few that are invasive in human homes. The pavement ant which you often see devouring fallen ice cream in the summer, the carpenter ant which has a nasty bite and can spit formic acid into your blood and the Pharaoh ant. What is this majestically named ant and why is it important?
What are Pharaoh Ants
Named for its brilliant amber colour the pharaoh ant is one of the smallest ants in the world and survives off the same stuff that feeds all ants: sugar and water. They are formidable foes and infest houses and most often apartment buildings. They create starlight colonies one after another and are very difficult to treat as they do not respond to actual pesticide treatments. They simply spread them more and cause them to create even more satellite colonies. This can go on forever if something isn’t done.
How to kill Pharaoh Ants
The only thing they are susceptible to is bait. Not just any bait, however. They must b treated with commercial-grade bait that they will take back to their nest and stockpile. The workers and the queen will eat this bait together and die, killing the nest entirely. This is the only way to kill them and while they may not seem that threatening they are. Only commercial bait will end their infestation.
Where did Pharaoh Ants come from
Where they came from is unknown but most believe they are from Africa. They have been carried through hundreds of years of commerce to every country in the world from China to Canada and beyond. They are so tiny that even seeing and identifying them is difficult. They are semi-translucent and almost look like little reddish-brown dots. Their official name is Monomorium pharaonis and they are a serious threat to human dwellings as well as commercial food storage.
What are their nests like
The nest is made up of males and workers, a queen and ants in various stages of development like larvae, pupas and adults. They need warm conditions which is why they are rarely found outside. Their preferred temperature is a narrow band between 80 and 86 degrees farenhight and they prefer areas with high humidity like kitchens and bathrooms. Because of their small size, they can nest in tiny, inaccessible cracks like opening in tile mortar and under caulking into places that humans could never venture into or even access making the nests hard to treat.
Pharaoh Ants Dangers
The biggest danger pharaoh ants cause is not just their destruction of food sources but the places they can get into. They can infest laboratories that are supposed to be airtight and can have been found infesting important areas like DNA storage containers and even electronics which can cause severe security dangers. They can infest hospitals and damage equipment and ruin samples while also causing distress to patients and ruining stored food. The danger here is that treating them is so difficult.
Professional Treatment of Pharaoh Ants
The only effective treatment is baiting where they are actively using commercial-grade ant bait. This will be collected and stored in their nests which can kill the nest from its core. Anything else has failed and even the bait can take multiple pretreatments to get rid of them permanently.