Pharaoh Ants Scientific Name: Monomorium pharaonis
Pharaoh ants are puny, yellow to reddish annoyances found indoors. Once a nest has been established, they are quite difficult to dethrone. They prefer to set up their regime in kitchens, bathrooms, and humid, hard-to-access areas. Most often they are found in hospitals, rest homes, and apartment buildings. In hospitals and rest homes, they present a real health issue because the pharaoh ants will often infest wounds, IVs, and bed pans, spreading the bacteria that causes staph infections. Because they are so small, they can infiltrate almost any food container and will readily go after most foods, especially greases and fats. They are known to infest pet food dishes. Additionally, pharaoh ant colonies readily split up when disturbed, creating a bigger infestation.
Most pharaoh ants do not bite or have such a small mouth that you won’t even feel the bite. The real problem comes when pharaoh ants enter an open wound, in which case a doctor may have to treat you for infection.
Pharaoh Ant Control
As pharaoh ants are extremely hard to get rid of, it may be best to call in the troops—a professional pest control agency—especially if your building is part of the health care or food industry. Nests may bud into new colonies if disturbed; spray, dusts, and boric-acid baits actually spread the infestation.
- Interview: A professional will first interview you to find out areas of high activity.
- Clean up: The first step to dethroning pharaoh ants is to clean and sanitize the area, especially kitchens.
- Pre-bait: After a thorough cleaning, a professional will target the pharaoh ants with a pre-bait to attract the ants to an area and locate the busiest areas.
- Insecticide: Finally, the professional will use an insecticide bait to kill the entire colony.
Pharaoh Ants DIY Pest Control
To wage your own war against these sneaks, first begin to notice areas of the greatest ant activity. Pharaoh ants love moist areas, such as sinks, toilets, dishwashers, water fountains, houseplants, and window sills. Then gear up for battle with the following attack methods.
- Clean it up: Clean up and remove all other food temptations for pharaoh ants, such as crumbs on your kitchen floor. This way, the pharaoh ants have no other choice but to take the bait.
- Don’t spray! Spraying or dusting the pharaoh ants or nest will do more bad than good. The colony will just break up into several smaller colonies and relocate.
- If you can’t beat ’em, feed ’em: First, attract the ants with a syrupy, sweet substance such as sugar, honey, or jelly. Once you’ve got the ants’ attention, use a bait with either a sugary or grease-fat based baits (such as those containing liver). Within a few days the numbers should start to decrease. Continue to use the bait until you see no trace of ants.
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If you’re interested in an environmentally-friendly way to rid yourself of pharaoh ants, consider the following green solutions to discourage these ants from coming back.
- Hide your stash of food: Keep sugary foods in tight containers and store in the fridge. Check to make sure the gasket of the fridge completely seals. Clean off crumbs from all kitchen surfaces.
- Build a moat: Place pet food bowls in a tray of water, as pharaoh ants are often attracted to pet food.
- Your mom was right; you need to clean your room! If you have a problem with pharaoh ants, you need to do some thorough cleaning. Sweep areas free of food crumbs, wash the floors, vacuum, clean recyclable containers before using, etc. You may even want to apply a vinegar-water solution on hardwood floors to destroy ant trails. Keeping your house clean and dry is the best long-term solution. You don’t want Mother Nature cleaning up after you.