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“Pharaohs Ants – Can you ever get rid of them?” – Terminix UK
So why are they called Pharaohs ants?
The pharaoh ant was named out of an idea that these ants were one of the insect plagues of ancient Egypt (although it is not known if this is true or not).
Pharaoh Ant Size
Pharaoh Ants are very small, with the worker ants being 2mm in size, males being 3mm and Queens 4mm in size. (Ant fact sheet)
When did Pharaoh ants arrive in the UK?
Originally from the tropics, Pharaoh ants have become distributed throughout the world by trade. They were first reported in the UK in 1828 and are now found throughout the country.
Where do you find them?
Despite them being very small they are notorious for being a major indoor pest, particularly in hospitals but also in most modern heated buildings. Pharaoh ants typically establish themselves in areas near moisture, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
They travel from room to room within the walls via plumbing pipes and electrical wires. They can often be seen forming long trails of marching ants on the move looking for food, much like the ants in cartoons, spreading pathogens such as salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus just to name a few by contaminating food, worktops, and floors as they go.
How do you control a Pharaoh Ant infestation?
Pharaohs ants can be very difficult to control and eliminate, especially if wrongly identified.
There are two main reasons that contribute to failure to eradicate:
- Firstly, not realising that they are not standard Garden Ants, this generally occurs when the building occupier (staff/residents) treat with a proprietary “ant powders” or “insect sprays”. By killing foraging worker ants, the colony splits into two or more groups to survive and the queens produce more worker ants which means the infestation is able spread and increase throughout the building.
- The second reason is generally down to the pest controller and is twofold, one, not carrying out a thorough survey and identifying all “ant trails” and two, not recommending the correct treatment which results in short term improvement, but infestations quickly re-establish.
“It is not until the ants are correctly identified that control can start to be achieved.”
Pharaoh ant colonies can be controlled and eradicated from premises, but to do so you need to know exactly what the level of the problem you are faced with and this stems from a thorough survey, you need to inspect everywhere to establish exact locations of activity.
Once done you need to use a bait specifically designed for the treatment of Pharaoh ants, baiting thoroughly to ensure sufficient is readily available. Once installed regular inspections need to be carried out over the treatment period to ensure control is being achieved and amend the treatment plan accordingly.
One of the key elements of achieving success is to ensure everyone in the building understands the problem and what role they must play in achieving control. Educating tenants/ employees outlining dos and don’ts is vital to the success of any treatment. Inaccurate treatments will lead to budding (spreading), as the colonies have multiple queens in colony, making the problem spread.
Finally, pest controllers must spend sufficient time on site to ensure they check all areas every time they visit as failure to identify and treat the smallest activity in a location, will only lead to failure.
Can we help you?
Our qualified teams are experienced in controlling long-standing infestations of Pharaoh ants. Should you need expert advice then Terminix UK are on hand to provide you the support you need to identify any problems and provide a solution that works.