Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ant: Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name: Monomorium pharaonis


Very small about 1/16-inch long. Light yellow to red with black markings on the abdomen.


Relies on artificial heating in buildings to survive. Infestations commonly occur in food service areas. Will nest in any well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure. Can also nest outdoors in lawns or gardens.


Food of all types, but especially sweets. Will also eat other insects.


Grows from egg to adult in about 45 days. Females live as long as 39 weeks and can lay about 400 eggs. Workers only live up to 10 weeks.

Pharaoh ants are small, yellow ants. Their thorax is typically darker, helping to locate the ant. They are present in almost every area in the world and are considered to be a major pest due to their ability to survive in indoor areas. Hospitals frequently require control for pharaoh ants, as they can quickly spread disease and contaminate sterile equipment and rooms.

Unlike some other ant species, pharaoh ants have multiple queens and are able to move their colonies from place to place when disturbed. Workers can grow from eggs to adults in as little as 38 days and may live for nine to 10 weeks. Queen pharaoh ants can live for four to twelve months, but male pharaoh ants die within three to five weeks of mating. Pharaoh ants begin new colonies by budding out. This means that a small group - a minimum of five workers, ten preadults and a single queen - migrate from their colony to start a new colony.

Pharaoh ants can build nests in walls, cabinet voids, behind baseboards, refrigerator insulations, the hollows of curtain rods, the folds of clothes, sheets and paper and other undisturbed dark spaces. A colony of Pharaoh ants will scatter if a toxic substance disturbs it. This creates multiple problems where there had been only one. In controlling pharaoh ants, it is often advisable to seek professional help.