Pharaoh ants are one of the smallest species of ants that has earned a place on the list of top ant invaders. In fact, they are only about two millimeters long at the most. Different in color from most of the ants on this list as well, they are a yellow or light brown, and they can appear to be almost transparent. They are believed to have originated somewhere in the tropics, although scientists have yet to narrow down a specific country, or even continent, of where they originally came from. At this point, they are an invasive pest all across the world.
Pharaoh ants are predominantly an indoor pest, and as such will typically only forage for food within a structure. While these ants appear to prefer foods rich in carbohydrates or proteins, they will actually work to maintain a balanced diet, and not gorge themselves on only one type of food. It is believed that the ants use pheromones to communicate with each other and to lead the way to a newly discovered food source.
Like many ants, pharaoh ants are beholden to queens, and there are typically multiple queens within a single colony. Queens produce eggs throughout the year, and hundreds of eggs can be laid by a queen within her four to twelve month lifetime. Unlike seen with most ants, these ants do not swarm during mating, but rather they mate within the nest. Nests are typically located in close to a food source but in warm and humid areas, with wall voids being a common choice. Hospitals are often subject to pharaoh ant nesting, but homes and business are just as susceptible. These nests often fragment during mating, forming smaller colonies in a process called budding. This budding is one of the many reasons these ants are so difficult to control. Nesting sites and foraging areas much both be treated for effective pharaoh ant control.
Did You Know?
Upon returning from a foraging expedition or after a long feeding, these ants will actually wash themselves!