The Pharaoh ant is an ant species that originates from the tropics, but was introduced to the Netherlands around 1900. After 1945 in particular, their numbers have increased greatly, due to the application of central heating in buildings, and today they are present throughout the country.
Like almost all ants, pharaoh ants are social insects, and live in so-called states. Within an ant state, there is a clear division of tasks: The queens provide the reproduction and they lay the eggs, the workers (infertile females) provide the food and take care of the larvae and the males inseminate the queens.
Workers 2.2 to 2.6mm. Brown-yellow with a dark coloured abdomen. Queens 3.5 to 4,8mm. Brown-yellow with a dark coloured head. Males 2.8 to 3.1mm. Black-brown with pale yellow legs and antennas, winged. Larvae don’t have legs and are white..
Pharaoh ants feel most comfortable at a temperature of about 30 degrees C and – in the Netherlands – only live indoors. Per population, they have several nests that can often be found at warm places, such as in the vicinity of furnaces, radiators and ovens. They are omnivores and can be found in bread, sugar, dog food and other food, but they prefer meats.
Per nest, Pharaoh ants can have up to 400 queens that can live up to 9 months, by which they will have laid about 300 eggs.
They can be a great nuisance in kitchens and other areas and they can transmit pathogens.
Prevention / control
The only way to fend off Pharaoh ants is to carefully check goods received and to store food in properly closed pots and canisters.
If the presence of pharaoh ants is detected it is important to initiate control measures as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading further. For effective ant control it is necessary to kill all queens, but sprays will not reach the nests. Only the bait method, in which the workers take the bait to the nest, allows for killing both the adult ants and the larvae.
To carry out a control action based on the bait method, you can contact EWS.