Every ant species interact differently and have varying food and habitat choices, making them different. In the same way, Pharaoh ants are characterized by their distinct body color and colony size that commonly invade indoor areas in search of food and moisture.
What is a Pharaoh Ant? Pharaoh ants are scientifically known as Monomorium pharaonis and appear light yellow to red. Their workers are 1.4 to 2mm long, while the queens are 3 to 4 mm in length. They like to eat fatty and protein-rich food and prefer to live in warm and moist places in the house. Furthermore, they have almost 1000 to 2500 members in the colony.
These ants have a rounded thorax and are the smallest ant species. Moreover, they mate by splitting their colonies, and queens give rise to new colonies and increase their population.
Facts About Pharaoh Ants
|Africa and United States
|Length of body
|1.4 to 2 mm
|Dark red and pale yellow
|Size of colony
|1000 to 2500
|Fatty and sweet food, dead insects
|5 to 12 weeks
|Day and night
How did pharaoh ants get their name?
There is a mistaken belief about the name of Pharaoh ants that these were considered one of the top plaques in Egypt that prevailed across Egypt when Pharaohs were ruling there.
There is nothing closer to reality, but they have a name still used to denote a particular species of ants.
Moreover, this common name is widely used among people unaware of the fact, but they are known as Monomorium pharaonis in the scientific community.
In addition, it is also known as a common household ant or a sugar ant due to a preference for sweet food and is difficult to control due to the large population.
What does a pharaoh ant look like?
Pharaoh ants have pale bodies and appear in yellowish or red color. Their abdominal region is enlarged and appears darker in color than the rest of the body color and looks like black sometimes.
They are monomorphic species having segmented bodies, six legs, and antennae. In addition, they are tiny insects having 1.4 to 2 mm longer bodies.
Moreover, the queens have darker bodies and are slightly bigger than the workers. These are almost 3 to 4mm in length having wings on their prominent abdomens and thorax.
Furthermore, they have two nodes on their waist, and the antennae have 12 segments having a club, which has three segments.
Their mandibles and gaster look shinier than the remaining body parts.
What are the dietary habits of pharaoh ants?
The Pharaoh ants are omnivores and feed on insects and food items, providing a good source of proteins and other essential nutrients.
Moreover, sweet foods attract them as their sense of smell can help them detect the food items.
You can find a heavy infestation of these ants around the kitchen or bathrooms due to food leftovers and moisture essential for survival.
In addition, they like to eat fatty foods, including oily fast food left on the countertop and crumbs of fried chicken on the floor.
Pet food and grease are their favorite foods, in addition to honey, sugar syrups, flavored jellies, and drinks.
Furthermore, they do not prefer to kill insects to get proteins as there are chances of losing a fight due to their small size, but they can feed on dead insects.
Where do pharaoh ants live?
The Pharaoh ants are native to Africa, but you can currently find them living in many states of the United States.
They build their colonies in warm places having temperatures of almost 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, moist areas having around 70 to 80% humidity are suitable for them.
Moreover, they are commonly present in hotels, hospitals, and grocery shops where food is present in bulk amounts and attract them towards it.
The wall voids, areas under carpets, and behind baseboards are suitable for these tiny insects to hide and spend their lives.
Shady areas are ideal spots for these ants to live as they cannot tolerate direct sunlight, which leads to water evaporation from their bodies.
What is the size of the pharaoh ant colony?
The colony of pharaoh ants contains a few members to thousands of workers. Most commonly, they have almost 1000 to 2500 members, including workers, queens, and adult males.
However, multiple colonies of these insects living together form a massive colony that can increase the overall size to a hundred thousand members.
The queens can produce around 300 to 400 eggs in almost 8 to 10 batches. The eggs are turned into adults after 30 to 35 days, and unfertilized males die quickly after mating.
However, the female workers and queen-to-be females are produced after the fertilization of eggs during a nuptial flight that accounts for many members in a colony.
They are not efficient in recognizing their nest mates, which helps avoid competition between the colonies.
Furthermore, the workers can live only for 5 months to 1 year and die as they perform heavy-duty tasks and cannot survive for long, like queens sitting inside nests.
Are pharaoh ants dangerous?
A few ant species lack stinger and cannot sting into the skin layer, but pharaoh ants have a little stinger that is not visible to the eyes.
These are common house ants roaming inside kitchens, bathrooms, and gardens. Accordingly, they are not dangerous like some wild bullet ants living in forests.
However, they are known to spread infectious bacteria like Salmonella and Streptococcus as they keep roaming in the dustbin filled with rubbish and other dirty areas.
It is essential to keep the countertops clean and store food items inside closed containers if you want to get rid of these insects.
Furthermore, you do not have to leave the dirty dishes in the sink with food particles because they can even attack at night as these are nocturnal.
It is essential to avoid moisture buildup using dehumidifiers as standing water attracts them. In addition, a clean place is less prone to attack by these insects as they like dirty places providing food particles.
Ant baits are an excellent solution to deal with heavy infestations than spraying in which sugar can be mixed with poisonous materials like boric acid to kill them.