Monomorium pharaonis, better known as the “pharaoh ant,” is one of, if not the most widely distributed ant species in the world. Pharaoh ants are abundant on every continent except for Antarctica, and they are considered common indoor pests in every part of the world where they can be found. Due to their ability to thrive in a variety of different environments, it should not come as a surprise to learn that Pharaoh ants are capable of establishing multiple nests within homes. Not only that, but Pharaoh ants usually establish exceedingly small nesting sites within inaccessible indoor areas where they are not likely to be found. These indoor areas include wall voids, ceiling voids, storage spaces, tight attic spaces, insulation, appliances, wall outlets, electric devices, drains, pipes, behind baseboards, beneath carpeting and just about any indoor or outdoor location imaginable with the exception of arctic landscapes.

Pharaoh ants consume a variety of different foods within infested homes, and they are most partial to fats, grease, sweets and protein. These ant pests reproduce at an unusually rapid rate, and they tend to establish nests throughout homes before pest control professionals have a chance to carry out an inspection. In most infestation cases, pharaoh ants are most heavily concentrated in kitchens, bathrooms, and anywhere else where moist conditions can be secured. Many pest control professionals agree that Pharaoh ants are the most difficult ant pests to control, and homes and buildings infested with pharaoh ants sometimes require repeat treatments in order to fully eradicate the pests. For example, two years ago, an apartment building had to be treated at least 25 seperate times after dozens of pharaoh ant colonies were discovered throughout the building.

According to Clay Kirby, an insect diagnostician at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, along with black carpenter ants, pavement ants, and odorous house ants, pharaoh ants are the most frequently encountered ant pests within Maine homes. A recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals revealed that pharaoh ants were the sixth most commonly managed ant pests during 2016. Pharaoh ants are relatively small in size, even for ants, as workers measure between 1/16 and ⅛ inch in length, and they are yellow to golden brown in color. Research has also shown that pharaoh ants prefer to establish new nests within unsanitary conditions where they acquire pathogens that they can then spread to indoor surfaces, foods, and even directly to humans. While pharaoh ants are not associated with the spread of particular diseases, they carry Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and clostridium, the last of which causes botulism. One homeowner was hospitalized for three weeks due to a secondary infection caused by painful pharaoh ant bites he sustained within his infested home.

Have ants ever established nests within hidden areas within your home?