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Pharaoh Ant

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Pharaoh Ant Biology
Pharaoh Ant Elimination
Exterior Treatment For Pharaoh Ants
Home Pest Gallery Contact Us Pest Control Ant Index

Pharaoh Ant Biology and Habits

Pharaoh ants are small, yellow ants about 1/16-inch long.   They have two nodes and the workers are all one size.  It is often confused with the thief ant which is also a small, yellow ant with two nodes.  The Pharaoh ant's antenna has 12 segments and ends in a three-segmented club.  the thief ant's antenna has only 10 segments and a two-segmented club.

The Pharaoh ant can be found throughout the United States but is most common in the southern states.  In northern states, it is most commonly found in apartments and commercial buildings such as hotels and hospitals.  In the South, this ant is a common pest in homes as well as other buildings.  In temperate climates such as the United States, the Pharaoh ant cannot survive outdoors year-round and so is found in close association with heated buildings.  It can survive outside only in the subtropical areas of the country such as Florida and Hawaii.

Pharaoh ants do not build mounds or carve out galleries in wood.   The nest in any dark void in a structure.  Nest locations include wall voids, cabinet voids, behind baseboards and window moldings, behind insulation of appliances, inside hollow curtain and shower rods, boxes and expansion joints in slabs.  They may even be found in areas such as folded paper sacks and newspapers.  Outside, these ants can be found in leaf litter, flower pots and in the debris of rain gutters.

Pharaoh ant colonies can grow large enough to contain as many as 300,000 workers and many queens.  The queens are very mobile and so are the colonies.   This is a key point to remember when attempting to eliminate infestations.

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Pharaoh Ant Elimination - Indoor Treatment

  • Pharaoh ant elimination can only be accomplished through an extensive indoor baiting program.  Indoor treatments with residual insecticides will not eliminate an infestation of these ants.  Only about 5% of a Pharaoh ant colony's workers are out foraging for food at any one time.  By attempting to kill ants with a spray, the remaining 95% of the workers will become stressed and split into two or more new colonies.  This splitting of colonies among ants is known as budding.
  • Baits must be place in every area where ants are known to forage.  Maxforce Complete or Maxforce FC should be used.   You also must bait areas where they may possibly forage. 
  • In severe infestations of larger buildings, total elimination of Pharaoh ants has been known to take up to a year.  Because of the particular habits of this pest, your baiting program should extend for several months.  Even after the ants seemed to have been eliminated, continue to place fresh ant bait in areas known to have been frequented by them.
  • Because Pharaoh ants tend to trail along edges, place baits in corners and along edges of door moldings and baseboards.  This precise bait placement ensures that the ants are more likely to find your bait.  Placing baits in the middle of cabinets or walls reduces the chances of the ant pests finding the bait.
  • Although the active ingredient and attractants in Maxforce bait are practically non-toxic to mammals, make sure that children and indoor dogs and cats cannot get to your bait.  Children and pets could possibly choke on the plastic station.  Simply place the bait stations out of reach of children and pets.

Exterior Treatment For Pharaoh Ants

Exterior treatments for Pharaoh ants are necessary in southern states and sometimes during warm months in the north.  Two steps can be taken:

  1. Treat around the perimeter of the structure with Maxforce Granular Ant Bait.   This first step is necessary when large numbers of worker ants have been observed on the exterior of the building.
  2. Treat the exterior of the building with Termidor SC  to prevent outside workers from entering and re-infesting indoors.  This step can be used alone or as a follow-up to using Maxforce Granular.  When following outdoor baiting program, wait at least two weeks before applying your insecticide.
Maxforce Ant Bait Stations

The best bait available for the elimination of Pharaoh ant colonies is Maxforce Ant Bait Stations.  This professional ant bait comes in plastic bait stations which are 2 inches square in size.  Maxforce bait stations should be place in all areas where Pharaoh ants are present or may be active.

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