Summary: Pharaoh ants, despite their small size, are the most invasive of all household ants. Pharaoh ants build colonies quickly and the spread of pharaoh ants is difficult to control.
Pharaoh ants are well-known troublemakers. They are notorious for getting into places they shouldn't be because they are small and can chew through plastic bags or wiring. This can cause a big problem in hospitals when they find their way into sterile environments or even into IV bags.
I'm going to tell you some things about why the Pharaoh ant is so different from other ants. First, their colonies have multiple queens and they have a different reproductive cycle than most ants. So what, you say? Well, get lucky enough to find a queen and kill her, you still have not eliminated the Pharaoh ant nest. Also, they mate in their nests rather than forming reproductive swarms above ground, so unlike other ants that warn you of their presence with their swarms, you never know Pharaoh ants are there until you find them infesting something.
Pharaoh ants can build their nests in wall voids, baseboards, under floors, in trash containers, under stones, and dark, warm areas near water pipes. Hospitals, apartment buildings, hotels, and grocery stores are often plagued with pharaoh ants. They build new ant colonies quick and resist treatment by condensing several colonies into one colony. Several separate Pharaoh ant colonies living close together sometimes makes it appear as if there is one huge colony. If the nests are under attack by a predator or a pesticide, the colonies can unite to œweather the storm. This resilience makes it difficult to eliminate the colony and can take up to a year to effectively treat a large pharaoh ant infestation.
Here's the worst part. If you try to treat Pharaoh ants with a pesticide they don't like they will create a satellite nest and start a new colony. So, you can't just go around spraying Raid Ant Spray or you'll double your trouble. Instead, Pharaoh ant control is achieved using bait systems. Advion Ant Bait Gel, Maxforce FC Ant Bait Stations and Maxforce FC Ant Bait Gel are some indoor baiting systems that have had success treating pharaoh ants. The bait stations are placed where the worker ants forage for food, close to floorboards and in the corners of rooms. The ants take the slow acting bait back to the colony and it slowly poisons the nest without causing alarm.
If you can't follow instructions on the bait, don't start the project. You'll just make it worse. Call a professional pest control company to do the job for you.
Click here to watch my short video on how to control ants.