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How To Control Pharaoh Ants

One of the most common ants infestations that plague households is the Pharaoh Ant. Pharaoh ants are prolific breeders and are common throughout the entire United States. The reason that they are called Pharaoh ants is because they were believed to be a plague which affected the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Pharaoh ants are rather tiny, about 1/16th of an inch long. They are yellow to light brown in color and have dark to black abdomens. What makes this ant so difficult to control is that they are intuitive and prolific in spreading their population and growing colonies. The Pharaoh queen will often leave a well-established nest and take adult workers, juniors and even eggs with her to establish a new colony.

Unlike most ants, Pharaoh ants prefer to nest indoors over outdoors. They are notorious for being found in establishments that handle large amounts of foods like hotels, grocery stores and hospitals. Inside, they nest in warm, humid areas wherever there is plenty of food and water nearby. Like many other ants, pharaoh ants primarily like to eat sweets and sugar-based foods as well as food that is really greasy.

If your home or place of establishment has become infested with pharaoh ants, Solutions Pest and Lawn can equip you with the best products and knowledge to eliminate the infestation yourself. Keep reading below to learn the best recommended products for pharaoh ant control and the best strategy to tackle these nuisances.

Browse our recommended products for treating Pharoah ants below. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact us anytime via phone, online live chat or email and we’ll be happy to help you.

How To Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants: 4 Step Solution

An effective pharaoh ant elimination program is not as simple as purchasing a product that targets ants, spraying it around and your work is complete. Pharaoh ants need to be dealt with in a more sophisticated fashion because they are a sophisticated insect. They can detect odors of insecticides and can communicate amongst one another to alert the colony to steer clear of treated areas. For that reason, baiting is the most effective way to get rid of pharaoh ants. By following the steps we laid out below you can get rid of pharaoh ants all by yourself.

Step 1: Identification.
The Pharoah ant is extremely small, measuring around 1/16th of an inch in length. They can range in color from yellow to a light reddish brown. They can be easily spotted by their darker abdomens.  If you are having trouble properly identifying the ant you are encountering and want confirmation that it is a pharaoh ant, take a closeup pic of the ant and send it to our experts at identification@solutionsstores.com. We will promptly respond to you with the proper ID of the ant and control options as well as product recommendations.

Step 2: Inspection. Locate the areas of high ant activity. This will require a very detailed inspection of your home. You cannot tackle the ant problem until you are aware of their hot spots. One of the best ways to do this is by carefully observing ants that are wandering and taking note of the trail they create while foraging for food. Mark these areas. If the trail isn’t made obvious, use a harmless bait like peanut butter and wait for ants to come to it and you will then notice their ant trail, which will be vital in the ant baiting process.

Step 3: Control.
  Once you have made note of the ant trails, you can then proceed with baiting the area in a strategic fashion, preferably along the ant trail you have marked. What we recommend is a sugar-based sweet bait such as Ant-Trax Ant Bait Gel. Please give the bait product 2 weeks to do its job before taking further action or reapplying. It is very important not to disrupt ant activity while bait is out. Leave them be and let them take the bait to their nesting sites to share amongst one another to create the desired domino effect.

You can use a non-repellent spray like Spectre 2 SC to create a barrier around your home to aid in keeping ants out of your home as well as apply around voids, cracks and crevices in the kitchen and bathrooms. Do not spray in areas where bait has been laid out as it will render the bait ineffective.

Step 4: After the baits have taken care of your pharoah ant problem, you will need to take proactive measures to make sure they don’t come back. This includes implementing preventative measures such as: reducing moisture by fixing leaks, thoroughly cleaning your home (particularly the kitchen) to clear up crumbs and grease, sealing up cracks and crevices with caulk, clearing off debris and firewood from your home and trimming trees that touch your home.


Pharoah AntsPharaoh Ant control

Ant Baits are the only effective control method for control and elimination of the Pharaoh ants. Residual treatments generally should not be used in Pharaoh ant control because they result in colony budding, contaminate bait stations and kills only the foraging ants.


Colonies of the Pharaoh Ants average 3,000-4,000 ants with several queens. Pavement ants normally nest in soil; however, they occasionally nest indoors in walls, insulation and under floors. Colonies will move near a heat source in winter.


Pavement ants often follow pipes through slabs to access buildings. Outdoors, these ants nest in soil under stones, slabs, next to buildings and in pavement cracks. They enter through cracks in slabs, expansion joints and natural openings of buildings. Pavement ants like to travel under the edges of carpet next to the tack strip. To inspect or treat this area, carefully lift the carpet a small section at a time, then press down firmly to replace the carpet. Soil nests may have a characteristic "dirt crater" around the opening. Pavement ants forage up to 30 feet in trails.


At Solutions Pest & Lawn we offer a full line of professional pest control products including a variety of ant control products like ant baits and ant killers so that you can kill all your ant control problems in an instant. Whether it is carpenter ant baits or fire ant killers, we have dedicated pest control products for all ant types.


Learn More About the Pharaoh Ant

While their scientific name is Monomorium pharaonis, this light colored ant is more widely known as as the Pharaoh ant. Why the name? It is believed that they were coined as pharaoh ants due to the erroneous claim that in ancient Egypt during the time of the pharaohs, these ants were a large plague which affected the country.


In early writing about this ant species, this difficult to control ant was also called the Pharaoh’s ant. Since then, the possessive apostrophe and s have been removed, but no matter the name, this ant is a force to be reckoned with wherever they are established.


What does a Pharaoh Ant Look Like?

Worker pharaoh ants look identical to each other and range between 1.5 to 2 mm long. Pharaoh ants have a 12 segmented antenna with 3 segmented clubs. The body of the pharaoh ant can be yellowish or light brown to red in color, with the abdomen often darker color to almost black. They do have a stinger but it is rarely visible.

Pharaoh Ant Origin and Tendencies

Pharaoh ants are believe to have originated in Africa, but have found their way to all parts of the world via shipping and cargo. Pharaoh ants are known to set up nests indoors where it is warm when the weather is colder, or outdoors if the climate is warm enough for them to thrive.


The Pharaoh ant colony is much like other ant colonies with queens, male reproductive ants, workers, and nymphs. When they choose to nest indoors it takes place in areas that are secluded and where there is lots of moisture and warmth that is in close proximity to food and water sources. Pharaoh ant colony sizes can range from a few dozen to as many as several thousand or even hundreds of thousands of individual ants. When it comes to the pharaoh ant life cycle, it takes about 38 days for worker ants to go from egg to adult.


Unlike most ant species, pharaoh ant colonies don’t leave the nest to swarm but rather mate exclusively in nest. Male reproductive ants are the same size as the workers ants, are usually entirely black and have straight antennae rather than bent. The queens are about 4 mm long and are slightly darker compared to worker ants. Reproductive queens can lay out over 400 eggs in batches of a dozen or so. The lifespan of a queen is between four to 12 months, while males die within three to five weeks after mating.

So how does the pharaoh ant become such a large colony without creating spawns? This is done via the process of budding, where a queen and workers split from the colony. The new colony they works with the mother colony by transporting goods and workers as well as reproductive queens.


Pharaoh Ant Impact On Society

The pharaoh ant has grown to become a troublesome residential pest in the United States. Pharaoh ants are known to survive typical pest control efforts where they have been established and can make their presence felt throughout an entire building as they grow and prosper due to ideal conditions.


Aside from residences, pharaoh ants have been reported to have invaded bakeries, factories, office buildings, and hospitals or other areas food handling establishments. They are even known to infest hospitals which can be a serious health hazards to newborn babies and burn victims due to the fact that the Pharaoh ant can transmit numerous harmful pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus spp., and Streptococcus spp.


Pharaoh ants can infest virtually any area of a structure where their is food present and can even invade areas where there is no food. When it comes to the diet of the pharaoh ant, they are not picky but they do prefer foods that are sweet, fatty, or oily foods.


Inspecting for Pharaoh Ants

Workers of the Pharaoh ant can be observed going along on their foraging trails on wiring or paper pipes as they travel in wall voids or under floors. Once a worker pharaoh ant has found a preferred food source, it lays pheromones out which alerts the rest of the nest to trek on over to feast.


Pharaoh ants can be mistaken to be thief ants, big headed ants, fire ants and several other species of small pale colored ants. So make sure to observe closely, or you can take a picture and send it over to identification@solutionsstores.com so we can correctly ID what type of ant species you are dealing with.


Pharaoh Ant Control Approach

Controlling pharaoh ants can be a tough task to tackle due to their tendency of inhabiting hard to reach areas. You can’t be lax with treatment as eliminating these ants require a solid control program which includes a thorough inspection, sanitation and environmental modification to make the infested area less appealing for the pharaoh ants and utilizing professional DIY ant control products.


The areas of focus for treatment should include walls, ceilings, floor voids, and electrical wall outlets.


Baits are the go-to method of pharaoh ant control. We recommended using Ant Trax Ant Bait Gel. It’s best to place these baits strategically along their trails and places of activity for best possible results.  


Alongside the use of baits, insect growth regulators (IGRs) can also play a large role in the control of pharaoh ants. The IGR is used as a bait, and ants should be left alone to transport the bait back to their nests. The IGR prevents the production of worker ants and sterilizes the queen. Within a few weeks, both the combination of bait and IGR will eliminate the entire colony.


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