Pharaoh ants live in very small multi-colonies. Their colour ranges from yellow or light brown to red. Pharaoh ants are small (1.5 mm long). They don’t bite.
Pharaoh ants like to be near warm, moist areas. They might make their nests:
Pharaoh ants like to eat a lot of things, like syrups, fruits, meats, and dead insects. They can be a problem in businesses that handle food, grocery stores, hospitals, and apartment buildings.
They don’t spread disease. But because they're so small, they can get into even the most secure food packaging. This means that they may contaminate food (make the food unsafe) with germs they pick up travelling through buildings.
When Pharaoh ants come into a building and make more ants (reproduce), it’s called an infestation. Here’s what you can do to stop an infestation from happening:
Pharaoh ants are
very hard to get rid of. Their colonies are large. They can hold thousands to hundreds of thousands of ants, and usually have several hundred ants that can reproduce. If you disturb a colony, it may bud (split up) to form several new nests. You have to use the right treatment on Pharaoh ants so the colony doesn’t bud.
You can buy insecticidal baits that control ants. But if the infestation is serious, using the bait alone may not work.
Don’t use an insecticidal spray because it might cause the colony to bud. A spray will kill some ants, but not a colony.
If the problem is bad, it’s best to hire a certified pest control professional. Do your research and choose one you can trust.
The professional should be able to tell you what’s causing the pest problem and come up with a plan to get rid of the pest. The professional may need to make several visits, and it may take days or even weeks. Tell the professional if you have children or pets.
If you rent, your landlord must, by law, keep the home pest-free and hire a professional as needed. If your landlord doesn’t correct the problem, call Health Link at 811 to register a complaint for a health inspector.
To learn more, call your nearest
Environmental Public Health office.
Current as of: April 26, 2021
Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services
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