The Pharaoh ant can be found all over the world, and is one of the most persistent and difficult species of ant to keep under control. These ants tend to prefer warm and humid locations, making Florida a perfect sanctuary.
Colony size varies depending on the availability of a proper nesting location; however, the species seems to prefer at least 450 members be in a colony. And unlike many ant species, Pharaoh ant colonies often have more than one reproductive female.
These ants aren’t very well known, but if you have an infestation you’ll definitely feel the effects. Generally, they have light yellow bodies with red and black markings, and they are quite small at only 1.5 to 2 millimeters in length – for reference, the thickness of a credit card is about a millimeter.
Pharaoh ants are infamous for “getting into everything.” According to one report, they have even been able to penetrate the security of recombinant DNA laboratories. In hospitals, these ants have posed health risks, as they are small enough to hide in medical equipment and tools while carrying a variety of pathogens. Needless to say, if they can accomplish that, they can get into most things in your home – including food.
You’ll probably be surprised to learn that spraying for these ants with repellant pesticides has the potential to actually make things worse! Spraying causes the colony to split into separate colonies and find new locations to nest. This process is called “budding.” Now instead of one colony, you have multiple colonies – each will begin to reproduce and grow to the same size as the original.
The ants that you can see marching across your countertop are actually representative of only five percent of the whole colony. Using any repellants to keep the five percent off of the counter will cause alarm amongst the other 95 percent hidden in the walls and the colony will start budding!
The best way to truly eradicate infestations is to use integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Your pest control professional can provide you with recommendations that will make your home less inviting to these pesky pests. Also, along with non-chemical control methods, your pest control professional will make use of “non-repellant” bait. This is often a formulation containing boric acid, hydramethylnon or fipronil. By using non-repellant chemicals, the chance of Pharaoh ants sounding the alarm and budding will be slim to none!
A Pharaoh ant infestation is one that you definitely don’t want. However, if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, don’t panic. It can be fixed, so contact Florida Pest Control to help.