Pharaoh ants are typically non-aggressive, and a single colony can contain multiple queens. They breed quickly, establishing satellite colonies nearby, and because they are non-violent toward each other as a whole, these satellites have an excellent chance of surviving. Pharaoh ant satellites are frequently established in small spaces, and can be moved quickly when under direct threat. A single colony of pharaoh ants can infest an entire office building within six months.
Pharaoh ants have a complicated system of pheromones that they use to establish trails and warn other pharaoh ants of danger. They have one used for long-term pathways, another used for short-term trails, and yet a third that is used exclusively as a repellent. This allows pharaoh ants to forage with efficiency and while avoiding potential dangers.
Pharaoh ants prefer a multitude of food sources, including both plant and protein substances. They will eat meat, cheese, sugary liquids, and dead insects, as well as insect by-products, such as the honeydew produced by tended aphids. Pharaoh ants have also been known to gnaw holes in rayon, silk, and even rubber products, and widespread destruction can increase with colony size. The variety of acceptable food sources ensures the long-term survival of pharaoh ant colonies.
Problems Caused By Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants have a combination of attributes that make them an incredible nuisance. They breed quickly, rarely fight other colonies of pharaoh ants, expand using satellite colonies, prefer a wide variety of food sources, and use a complex set of pheromones to survive and grow their population. These attributes make dealing with the pharaoh ant difficult and complex, and extermination techniques have to be specifically tailored to this species. If the wrong type of pest control is applied to the workers or colonies, pharaoh ants have a wide range of survival mechanisms that will prevent total elimination of an infestation, including colony scattering and pheromone trails. Because their individual nests can be so small, detection and eradication can be difficult.
Preventing Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants can cause a huge amount of destruction in a very small time-frame. Prevention involves sealing all cracks in foundations and walls, regular maintenance of masonry, sealing of windows and doors, and sealing of utility pathways. Landscaping should be pruned as far back from the building as possible, including trees, shrubs, and plant matter.
Indoors, proper sanitation is vital. Food should be stored properly in tightly-sealed containers, garbage areas should be controlled and cleaned, and dishes, utensils, drawers, and cabinets should be free of any residual food items. Reducing clutter in the home, office space, or outbuilding can also help. If pharaoh ants are crushed or killed, the surrounding area should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water, to prevent any remaining trail pheromones.
Eliminating and Controlling Pharaoh Ants
If a pharaoh ant infestation is suspected, a licensed professional should be called in immediately. If these ants are able to establish even a single nest within a building, they can become a major problem within months. Attempting to treat the infestation with DIY methods will most likely make the problem worse, due to the variety of survival mechanisms that pharaoh ants employ. At Pest Control Inc, we use a number of different treatment techniques, including surveillance, baiting, and exclusion solutions, and all of these treatments are specifically designed with the pharaoh ant in mind.
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