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Pharaoh Ants: An FAQ

An ant
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, at some point you may find yourself struggling with pharaoh ants. These difficult to exterminate ants are known for eating a variety of foods and building their nests in hard to reach places, like under warm appliances and in the walls. Knowing the habits and dietary needs of pharaoh ants can help you prevent this kind of infestation in your home.  

What Are Pharaoh Ants?

Pharaoh ants are small ants found all around the country, though they are especially prevalent in the southern half of the United States. These ants are known to inhabit businesses as well as residences and can be a particular problem in hospitals, where the ants have been known to spread disease. Pharaoh ants about 1/16 of an inch in length and usually have a reddish yellow body with a black abdomen.

What Do Pharaoh Ants Eat?

Unlike some other ants that are primarily attracted to sweets, pharaoh ants are attracted to a variety of things. While pharaoh ants will eat sweets, these ants are more attracted to proteins and greasy foods. The ants can be found in kitchens, dining rooms, and anywhere else where they can access savory foods like meats. Pharaoh ants also eat dead and live insects.

Because of the pharaoh ant's appetite, these pets can become a problem in restaurants because of the prevalence of greasy foods on the floor, tables, and counters.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Pharaoh Ant Infestation?

Ants are hard to keep away because they're small, determined, and fond of the foods that people keep on hand in their home. To prevent pharaoh ants from coming into your home, you'll need to make it hard for them to access your home while simultaneously making your home a less hospitable place for them to be.

Start by sealing up any cracks in your home that could potentially become a point of entry for an ant. Use caulk to seal up cracks in the foundation, gaps in the windows, and spaces next to vents and pipes that enter your home. Use screens to block entry into vents and other wide-open entry points. Finally, avoid leaving windows or doors open in your home.

Of course, sealing up all the cracks in your house is probably impossible. Even if you make it harder to get inside, ants can still find a way. That's why the next step of pharaoh ant prevention is to keep the house spotlessly clean and food sealed in containers. Clean up your kitchen every night after dinner, and sweep and mop your floors regularly. Keep all foods sealed in plastic, glass, or metal containers.

Throw out your trash on a nightly basis, and clean all of your dishes immediately after your meal. If you have a pet, don't leave your pet's food sitting out where ants can get to it. Because pharaoh ants are omnivores, they'll be attracted to any pet food that contains meat. This may mean that you'll have to get your pet on a set eating schedule, and you will have to clean up for your pet after he finishes his food.

These steps are especially important in winter. In climates where winters are cold (like here in Jackson, MI), pharaoh ants are unable to survive the winter in the harsh outdoors. Ants come inside during the late fall when the temperatures start to drop. To avoid an infestation, stay diligent about your housekeeping habits at this time of year. If you do see any ants in your home, contact a pest control company to set out bait traps that will kill the ants and prevent the colony from growing.

Want more information about pharaoh ants? Contact Aardvark Pest Control. We'll be happy to answer your questions!