Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (2018)
Common Name(s): Pharaoh ant
The workers are one size, about 1/16 inch. Pharaoh ants are yellow to reddish colored with a dark gaster tip. The waist (pedicel) has two nodes, and the antennae are 12-segmented with a three-segmented club.
Origin and Distribution
Pharaoh ants are a major nuisance species. They are almost always found within structures and are difficult to eliminate. If disturbed or foraging trails disrupted by the application of contact insecticide treatments, the colony often buds off into several separate colonies.
Habitat & Hosts
Pharaoh ant nests are located in floor voids, walls and ceilings, and they often infest large buildings. In hospitals, these ants pose a health risk because they can carry infectious bacteria from the warm, moist areas they inhabit.
Egg, larva, pupa and adult.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
The colonies of this ant do not spread by swarming, but instead by “budding,” which is the breaking apart and establishment of sub-colonies in new locations. This process can be triggered when the colony is stressed by the application of repellent liquid or dust insecticides. Colonies can be very large, some containing more than 100,000 ants. Because the colony may bud if stressed by an application of an insecticide, or may quit foraging after an application, a false impression of eradication might be given. Baiting is the preferred method of control for pharaoh ants.
Several baits should be used to see which one the colony may prefer. Pharaoh ants notoriously use plumbing pipes and electrical wires, therefore baiting in those locations is essential. Each ant trail found could be for a separate ant colony, so baiting each trail and diagramming ant locations is very important in the eradication of pharaoh ants.