Pharaonic ants (often mistakenly called "Pharaoh ants") are the only species of tropical ants that managed to expand their habitat far to the north and south due to the colonization of human habitation. Today the pharaohs ant managed to become a real cosmopolitan, spreading practically to all continents of the world and becoming a headache for millions of residents of apartments and houses.
The historical homeland of the pharaoh ant is considered to be India. Due to its unpretentiousness, small size and some peculiarities of biology, it was this insect that managed to learn for life the ships of seafarers, then - the port cities. And already from them the red conquerors began a victorious procession deep into each country, into which they accidentally penetrated.
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The Pharaoh's ants received their name because they were first caught in the Egyptian pyramids in the 18th century. Literally right after that, insects were described by Linnaeus, who decided that Egypt is their homeland, and the ants themselves called Pharaohs.
Today, most researchers are inclined to believe that the real homeland of pharaoh ants is the territory of Hindustan.
Appearance of Pharaoh ants
Pharaoh ants are very small representatives of their family. Working ants have a body length of about 1.5-2 mm, a uterus - up to 4 mm, males - about 3 mm.
For the characteristic color Pharaoh ants were also called red - the color of the body of the worker ant is light brown, almost yellow. The photo shows the working ant at a strong magnification.
The uterus of the Pharaoh ant is darker and resembles the usual black garden relatives. The photo shows such a queen surrounded by working individuals:
It is noteworthy that all pharaoh ants on the abdomen have clear yellow stripes, but because of the small size of the working individuals, they are not particularly noticeable.
Eggs and larvae of this species rarely come to their eyes: ants prefer to equip the colony in places where it is difficult to reach a person. Eggs of ants have a diameter of about 0.3 mm, larvae reach a length of 1-1.5 mm and look similar to the eggs themselves: as seen in the photo, they are white, translucent and immovable:
It is the size and color of the body that Pharaoh's ants are different from other species. In addition, in the conditions of our country, this species can not exist outside the home of a person, and therefore with other relatives in one place practically does not occur. So if ants met in the apartment, and even a whole crowd - this is probably the "Indian-Egyptian guests."
Features of the biology of yellow invaders
The main feature of the pharaoh ant is its thermophilic nature. The tropical origin is affected: this species can not exist at a temperature below 20 ° C, although in homes and apartments nests safely experience short-term temperature drops to 10-12 ° C.
Outside the heated premises in the territory of the former CIS, this species can not live. In winter, even quite mild by Russian standards in the southern regions, they simply freeze.
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In the conditions of the Russian winter, no species of ants can actively live on the surface of the soil. Domestic species for six months arrange a wintering, closing in the anthills, little moving and rarely eating. Some even take the aphids to the dungeons, providing them with delicacies. Pharaoh's ants do not have wintering in the biological cycle, and they need to be warm all year round and close to food.
Like all ants, pharaohs ant is omnivorous: they can eat any crumbs, products of plant and animal origin, rotting organics, other insects.
A very interesting structure has an anthill of this species. While it is small, the whole nest can be placed on several square centimeters under the flooring or among the books. With the growth of an anthill, parts can sprout from it with the creation of additional nests in certain places of the dwelling, but the connection of the "branches" is maintained, and the ants from different nests do not feud with each other.
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The first ants in Europe appeared in the ports of London and settled beneath the mantel plates in fairly rich houses.
But the main feature that the pharaoh ants possess is the tolerance of the queens to each other. In one colony, several dozen or even hundreds of breeding females can live together. Of course, the destruction of one nest from such a super-surrogate has little effect on the vital activity of others.
Pharaoh ants in the apartment
Pharaoh ants in the apartment feel even more comfortable than its true masters. They can base their nests almost anywhere, constantly lay new paths to food sources and expand their settlements.
In their spread through the rooms, Pharaoh's ants are limited only by available food supplies. They easily penetrate into the neighboring apartments and can perfectly live and reproduce under the parquet floor of the living room, and feed - from the garbage chute.
In this case, nests of Pharaoh ants can be located almost anywhere. It can be cavities behind skirting boards or under furniture, crevices in floors, piles of things in pantries, creases of clothes, discs boxes - wherever a normal temperature is maintained and where people do not often look.
The most visible in the apartment are foraging ants, which run along paved and marked paths in search of or during transportation of food. Noticing them, do not immediately try to destroy them. It is much more reasonable to follow their movement and calculate the dislocation of the nest. There it will be easier to destroy pests.
How to get rid of Pharaoh ants
Get rid of pharaoh ants in the apartment is very difficult. Their huge anthill-metropolis can be located in several apartments and houses. Sources in the premises, dirt in the garbage chute, and in the summer time - organic from the street can serve as sources of provisions for them. It is due to this that insects do not particularly suffer from the destruction of one or several nests: the colonizers from the survivors quickly master the liberated territories and restore their numbers.
The simplest case is when an anthill is just beginning to develop, and insects have not yet managed to organize their daughter nests. If you find such a colony and trite vacuum, the fight with the ants can be considered finished.
If the ants live in the house for a long time, it is best to assign them to specialists from special disinfestation services. In this case, the fight against insects must be carried out jointly by all the tenants of the house. Those neighbors who do not support the initiative will provide ants with a chance to survive in their apartments.
Independently to get rid of Pharaoh ants it is possible by means of means of several types:
- Aerosols - they diligently sprayed all the surfaces in the apartment and especially - the place of the most frequent movement of insects. If the aerosol penetrates into the nest, the ants will surely die. If the nest is located outside the spraying zone, then only those working ants that have fallen under spraying will die out.
- Gels are effective baits containing powerful insecticides. Their charm lies in the fact that foraging ants carry droplets of gels into the nest, where they will be poisoned by other of their brethren and the uterus as well. The action of the gels is stretched in time, but with the systematic work it gives a very good result.
- Insecticide dust and crayons. These funds simply fall on the feet of ants, and when insects try to clear them - they are poisoned. Of course, on the feet of the poison can penetrate into the colony of pests.
- Proven folk remedies - borax, boric acid, yeast, corn flour. These substances are poisonous to ants, and with their help you can make effective poison bait.
Other means-scaring off grasses, sticky traps-either scare the ants away for a time without destroying them, or exterminates foragers only, without affecting the colony itself. The result of their use is almost not there.
Choosing a remedy for pharaoh ants, one should not consider ultrasonic and magnetic resonance scares - their ants are not afraid, and to get rid of these insects such devices will not help. Details about these tools can be found in a separate article on our website.
The best protection against Pharaoh ants will be a reliable prevention of their appearance in the apartment: maintaining cleanliness, lack of debris and openly stored food waste, insecticide treatment of insect penetration pathways into the house. There are cases when, with proper prophylaxis, the owners of the apartment managed to protect her from the ants during total contamination of the whole multi-storey house.