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Pharaoh Ant

   PHARAOH ANT

 

The Pharaoh Ant is one of the major indoor nuisance pests in the UK, particularly in hospitals, rest homes and hotels as well as in the premises where food is processed and sold. The insects originally come from tropics, so they like warm conditions found within human buildings. Nowadays, pharaoh ants are widespread in every area of the country. The insects feed on organic matter in any form. Pharaoh ants are considered a dangerous pest because they can pass on harmful germs from one place to another.

Appearance: Pharaoh ants are very small; workers are only about 2 mm (1/16 inch) long. Their bodies are yellow or light brown, almost transparent. The head is large with big black eyes. Pharaoh ants do not have stings.

Infestation: Pharaoh ants live in colonies consisting of 1000 to 2500 workers and 2 to 200 queens. There are no hostilities between neighbouring colonies. It happens frequently that a part of the colony including queens, workers and brood leaves the main nest to invade a new site. This way a single colony is able to populate a large office block or a whole hospital in a very short time. Unlike other ants in nature, pharaoh ones breed all year in heated buildings. A single queen lays more than 300 eggs in her life time producing hundreds of workers in a few weeks. This means that an uncontrolled population grows very quickly and its parts migrate to other locations to set up new colonies all the time. Tiny nests of insects can be even transported from one building to another by chance in such items as furniture, luggage, baskets, clothing or linen. Pharaoh ants are so invasive that they usually edge other pests out of the buildings they have seized.

Habitat: Pharaoh ants can be found everywhere people live and work. Since the insects need warmth, food and protection they prefer residential, commercial and public buildings which are warm throughout the year and where food sources are easily available such as housing blocks, apartment dwellings, hospitals, rest homes, prisons, hotels, day nurseries, schools, restaurants, pubs, food processing facilities, shops as well as domestic kitchens and bathrooms. A colony of pharaoh ants contains a lot of small nests usually scattered all over the premises infested. Ants’ nests are mostly located in dark and warm places near hot water pipes, around central heating pipes, behind ovens, in wall and floor cracks and slits, behind fixtures and fittings, in trash containers, under stones and even between sheets of paper, in clothing, laundry, furniture and foodstuff. Pharaoh ants feeds on any kind of food they come across including baked goods, sugar, jellies, syrup, honey, fruit juice, soft drinks, grease, starch, dead insects and even shoe polish, silk, rayon and rubber. In hospitals, ants have been found in patients’ wounds, glucose solutions, infusion equipment and packs of sterile dressing.

Detection: Although it is rather difficult to spot ants’ nests, since they can be very small and well hidden, there are no problems to detect the ant infestation as such. Living and dead ants can be seen all over a building infested. It is so because pharaoh ants are highly active while foraging for food. Moreover, pharaoh ants usually form well visible long trails moving to and from food and water sources such as pantries, utility rooms, kitchen cupboards, rubbish bins, baths, showers, toilets, washbasins, drains, vases, water pitchers and bedpans.

Health hazards and damage to property: Pharaoh ants pose an extreme danger of infection. They mechanically pass on virulent germs by moving between places where food is stored and unsanitary sites where they drink water. That way the insects transmit diseases and contaminate food and sterile materials in hospitals. Pharaoh ants are a serious pest in hospitals, rest and nursing homes as well as in hospices where they infect not only food but also dressings, bandages, medicine, medical equipment and even patients’ wounds. Pharaoh ants cause also significant damage to property by gnawing holes in rubber, wood and fabrics.

Cleanliness and hygiene: High standards of hygiene and keeping living and working areas clean, regularly removing food residues and organic waste as well as keeping food in closed containers are fundamental to prevent or reduce ant infestation. Other effective steps are turning heating down to a reasonable level, removing or securing all potential water sources for ants and sealing all gaps, cracks and holes where the insects can potentially set up their nests. Remedial measures are highly recommended, but insufficient to entirely eradicate an existing pest, since pharaoh ants are extremely resilient and flexible.

Professional pest control service: It is practically impossible to get rid of pharaoh ants without professional assistance. If threatened for instance by the use of conventional pesticides such as residual sprays or toxic baits, the insects split into a large number of small groups which are more difficult to detect and destroy than the original colony. Pharaoh ants are very successful at establishing well hidden niches in infested buildings where the insects can breed and survive for a very long period of time. Usually, there are many colonies of pharaoh ants in a building infested, so the visible infestation never represents the whole pest. That is why ants seem to be unaffected by homemade treatments and after a short period of absence, come back over and over again. Only a professional treatment with special insecticides and baits can effectively control the overall population of pharaoh ants in a property. It can take many weeks and visits of pest control specialists, but there is no other way to totally eradicate the plague of pharaoh ants. It is also necessary to treat the whole block of flats or hospital or other building infested at the same time.

If you have any problems with pharaoh ants, do not hesitate and contact our professional Pest Control Service.

We are offering treatment against pharaon ants starting from £69.99.

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