Ants are amazing insects, as they can lift 20 times their own body weight and their social behaviors are among the most advanced of all social insects. Researchers believe that ants emerged somewhere between 140 and 170 million years ago, and today more than 12,000 species have spread to every region of the world with the exception of the polar regions. Although ants are easy to admire for their adaptability and overall evolutionary success, many ant species can be annoying nuisance pests indoors, and some species can even be dangerous to humans. Ants have no problem gaining access to indoor areas since they are the most abundant insects on earth, and their tiny size allows them to enter homes and buildings through even the narrowest of spaces. This is especially true when it comes to Pharaoh ants, as these ants forage 24 hours a day under just about any climatic condition. In addition to being constantly on the move, Pharaoh ants also dwell within large colonies and travel in large groups where they often encounter homes. Considering these factors, it is not surprising to learn that Pharaoh ants find their way indoors more often than most other ant pest species.
Pharaoh ants are probably native to Africa, but their abundance and preference for indoor locations has allowed them to spread all over the globe by means of international commerce. While Pharaoh ants are abundant in all regions of the United States, they are only considered significant indoor pests within temperate regions like the northeast. In warmer southern climates, Pharaoh ants maintain an outdoor habitat, but they may intrude indoors on occasion in search of food. However, in temperate northern climates, Pharaoh ants nest solely within heated indoor homes and buildings. Unfortunately, once a home or building becomes infested with these ants they are quite difficult to eradicate, as they establish their nests within wall-voids, electronic devices and other hard-to-access locations. Pharaoh ants are often found skittering into outlets and into light switches, and they are immune to nearly all indoor pest control treatments. Perhaps worst of all, Pharaoh ants have even managed to infiltrate sensitive medical devices and they are the only insects to have ever infested sensitive DNA samples within medical laboratories. The presence of these ants within hospitals has made people, and especially newborn babies ill due to the disease-causing bacteria that they spread. Pharaoh ants gravitate to sweet tasting foods, but they will infest nearly all food sources, sweet or not.
Have you ever found an ant escaping into an outlet on your wall?