|Size:||1.5 mm – 2.0 mm, Queen 4 mm|
|Color:||Yellow or red colour|
Otherwise known as Monomoriumpharaonis (Linnaeus), the Pharaoh ant is an indoor pest that is common among residential households not just here but all over the world. Pharaoh ant is arguably the most difficult pest to control. In hospitals, they are dangerous as they spread bacteria.
With its origins in Africa, the Pharaoh ant can be found in all corners of the world. This diverse distribution was as a result of the commerce. This ant has a tendency of only nesting indoors, however, in the southern latitudes, research has shown that the ant has adapted to outdoor conditions such as in Southern Florida. This is totally different when it comes to cold climatic regions. The Pharaoh ant will nest in areas where there is warmth such as in buildings.
Just like in other ant species, the Pharaoh ant exists in colonies with queens, males, and workers. The rest of the Pharaoh ant population consists of undeveloped stages such as the eggs, larvae, and pupae. Despite being approximately the same size, the worker Pharaoh ant can vary in size from about 1.5mm to 2.0mm in length. Males are relatively the same size with worker ants, about 2 mm, while the queen is about 4mm in length. Male ants are have a darker color and straight antennae as opposed to worker ants which have a 12-segmented antenna which is made up of 3 antennal clubs that progressively increase in size towards the apex of each antennal club. The eyes are relatively small with the Pharaoh ant’s body having sparse amounts of hair. This ant can be recognized by its distinctive color. It is yellowish as well as reddish brown along the abdominal section. Pharaoh ants have stingers which are rarely used. Instead of injecting poison, the pharaoh ants will inject pheromones instead.
Nesting habits of the Pharaoh ant is quite fascinating. They tend to prefer areas that are inaccessible such as in walls, in regions of about 80-86°F and an 80% humidity level. These are often areas with accessible food and water. Colonies can vary in size, with some being over 1000-ant count while others are only a dozen ants. It takes about 38-45 days for an egg to mature into a fully functional adult ant. Unlike other ant species, males in the Pharaoh ant colony are not often found in the colony. With a lifespan of about 4-12 months, queen lay about 400 eggs during their lifetime. Males will often live for up to five weeks and then die, which happens after the mating is finished. The fascinating aspect about the Pharaoh ant is the fact that there can exists daughter colonies a small colony that has broken off from the mother colony. In some cases, research has shown that there can exist multiples reproducing females in one colony.
Control & Prevention:
Prevention is made almost impossible due to the fact that these ants nest in inaccessible areas. During treatment, key areas to look for include walls, ceilings, floor spaces and electrical outlets. Indoor pharaoh ants are exterminated using bait insecticides since spraying will disperse the ants. Outdoor-nested pharaoh ants will be exterminated using perimeter barrier method.