Pharaoh ants are about 1/16 inch in length, although the queens are about twice that size. They have a pale yellow to red body and the abdomen is almost black, while the queen is slightly darker in color.
These pests are probably native to Africa but can be found throughout the United States. They like to nest indoors where there is warmth and high humidity. They can be found outdoors as well, on the ground and in debris that has collected on a flat roof. They will go far and wide to locate food and water and they will eat sweets, meat and dead insects. You may have these pests in your home if you have any unprotected food on your counters or in your pantry, or if your food preparation area is not free of crumbs, spills or food debris.
Pharaoh ants are believed to spread at least a dozen different diseases by contaminating food sources. They are often a problem in grocery stores, hospitals, hotels and apartment buildings. They don’t survive the winter in much of the US, but they do over-winter in some of the warmer states. They forage for food in homes and businesses along set trails on carpets, countertops and along floorboards, preferring warm and moist locations to build their nests. Their colonies can also become very large, having multiple queens and their colonies can branch out easily as well. They have been observed in some very strange places and are known to penetrate very sterile environments in hospitals. They have even been seen taking moisture from the mouths of newborn infants.
Controlling Pharaoh ants can be difficult because their colonies can be so large. It is not advised to use over the counter ant treatments because they can actually cause a Pharaoh ant colony to grow. You may treat them once and they seem to disappear but will come back with a vengeance in just over a week. You can try to seal up any holes or gaps in the exterior of your property as well as use double sided sticky tape along baseboards and near any sterile equipment to try to deter these pests. For property owners in Houston, Texas who need Pharaoh ant control services, contact the professionals at Holder’s Pest Solutions.