We’ve all had those beautiful breezy summer picnics ruined by a plague of biting ants. So when you see a busy line of ants meandering through your yard or home, you are right to be worried.
Pharaoh ants, despite their exotic name, are one of the most common ants found in the United States. You have very likely already encountered these little critters and they may be the very ants now on your property.
In this article, I’m going to answer your fears over just what pharaoh ants are capable of. I recommend you read on because there have been some very interesting studies done into the behavior of these kingly little ants.
What are Pharaoh ants and what do they look like?
I’m going to guess that since you searched for “Pharaoh ants” and landed on this article, you probably are already familiar with the species in name at least. But just to make sure we are on the same page, how do you identify a Pharaoh ant from other common American species?
These ants are tiny, measuring just 1/16″ or 1.5 mm in length. They have a reddish-brown to yellow color and often feature a darker “abdomen” or back end. If you look closely, you will see that Pharaoh ants have two different node shapes on their pedicel, which is the section that connects the “waist” to the rest of the body. Pharaoh ants have 12 segments in their antennae as well as a three-segmented club at the ends.
Most importantly, if you have Pharaoh ants on your property, you will likely see many, many of them. This is because the colonies these ants form can number from thousands to hundreds of thousand.
A single Pharaoh ant colony can contain several queens and tens of thousands of workers. The ratio of queens to workers seems to depend on many factors and isn’t easy to predict. So, if you see just a few of these little guys, trust me when I say there are many more where they came from.
Do Pharaoh ants bite people or pets?
We all know that many ant species bite or sting, and some like fire ants can really cause a lot of discomfort.
Studies have shown that Pharaoh ants exhibit extremely low inter-species aggression and as a result are very unlikely to bite humans or our pets. Given their size, even if these ants were to become defensive they are unlikely to secret enough formic acid to harm us.
If you wanted to disprove the science you could thrust your hand inside a pharaoh ant’s nest and see if they really would attack an intruder. However, beyond doing something silly like this you are very unlikely to come to physical harm at the jaws of these pests.
When you are suffering from an insect bite and are also experiencing a Pharaoh ant infestation, I’d bet that that bite came from another pest. You are much more likely to have been bitten by a mosquito or bed bug or even another species of ant.
How to get rid of Pharaoh ants
Even if these ants are fairly harmless on the biting front, you never want to share your home with any sort of pest if you can help it.
That being said, these ants can be much trickier to exterminate than other species which prefer nesting outside. These Pharaoh ants are almost exclusively indoor hymenopterans.
Pharaoh ants like to build their nests in small, out-of-the-way spaces. They love wall voids, behind picture frames, and inside insulation. These pests are also drawn to warm places and will often build their nests near heat sources like light fixtures and electrical sockets.
Pharoah ants are known for their “satellite nesting.” This is when a colony will break off into several smaller colonies which then nest in close proximity to the parent colony.
If you try to treat just one of these satellite nests, the others will quickly repopulate it. The only way to get rid of Pharaoh ants for good is to target all of the satellite nests at once.
The best way to do this is to consult with a professional pest control specialist who will have the experience and products necessary to take care of your Pharaoh ant problem for good.
if you want to try exterminating a Pharaoh ants colony on your own, then feel free to try the methods I cover in my full article on how to get rid of Pharaoh ants.
What kind of damage can Pharaoh ants cause in a home or office?
Pharaoh ants are in fact a fairly benign species when compared to other ants such as carpenter ants or pavement ants.
These pests don’t damage wood or foundations like carpenter ants. They also aren’t known to sting like fire ants. So, what kind of damage can Pharaoh ants cause?
The main problem with Pharaoh ants is not structural damage but rather the health risks they pose.
Are there any health risks associated with Pharaoh ants?
Pharaoh ants, just like many other pests such as cockroaches and mosquitoes, are known to spread disease.
These pests are attracted to food sources and will often invade kitchens in search of a meal. If they find their way into your food, they can contaminate it with harmful bacteria.
Pharaoh ants have also been known to spread diseases like Salmonella spp., Pseudomonas oeruginosa, Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., and Clostridium spp. As one study showed, in hospitals, these pests can pose a serious threat as they can spread diseases from patient to patient.
For this reason, it’s important to take measures to prevent Pharaoh ants from getting into your home or office in the first place. If you do find yourself with an infestation, it’s best to call in a professional to take care of the problem.
How to prevent Pharaoh ants from entering your home or office
The best ways to prevent Pharaoh ants from entering your home are to seal up any cracks or crevices in the exterior of your building and to keep food sources well-sealed.
You should also regularly clean up any crumbs or spills, as these can attract these pests. If you have an infestation, be sure to call in a professional to take care of the problem.
Pharaoh ants are a species of ant that is known to invade homes and offices in search of food. These pests are attracted to crumbs and spills, so it’s important to regularly clean up any potential food sources.
Often good pests control is easy as just changing a few elements of your lifestyle and daily routine. However, If you find yourself with an infestation, be sure to call in a professional to take care of the problem.
While the scientific evidence is pretty conclusive showing that pharaoh ants hardly ever bite humans, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant.
If you see a pharaoh ant in your home, it’s best to deal with the issue as soon as possible as these pests can spread disease. The best way to get rid of pharaoh ants is to call in a professional pest control specialist.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch. Thanks for reading!