Pharaoh ant extermination

A pest control technician will be the first to tell you that pharaoh ants are one of the hardest kinds of insect to get rid of after an infestation. That is why it’s important to bring in a professional exterminator if you discover one or several of these insects in your home or commercial building.

Do pharaoh ants bite?

This species—Monomorium pharaonis—is not aggressive; they do have stingers, but they are not strong enough to pierce human skin. The presence of pharaoh ants is detrimental to humans in other ways, however:

  • They are dreaded by hospitals, hotels, grocery stores and restaurants because they are notoriously hard to get rid of.
  • They are known to carry disease-causing microbes such as salmonella, streptococcus and staphylococcus.
  • Hospitals and care homes need to be especially vigilant in preventing and dealing with infestations because of the risk of wound contamination. In the home and in commercial kitchens, ants can contaminate food preparation and dining areas.


Pharaoh ants are small (around 2 mm) and are a nearly transparent yellow or pale brown colour. There are two segments between the thorax (chest) and abdomen. Colonies are made up of three castes: queens, winged males and sterile female workers. Although the species originates in warm climates, it is commonly found throughout Quebec in heated homes and buildings.

Pharaoh ants have a trait that makes them especially hard to get rid of: colony budding, or splitting. This means that queens leave their nests to start new colonies on a frequent basis. No hostility is shown towards other colonies, and there is no fighting for food. Groupings of several colonies in close quarters can give the appearance of a single, giant nest.

Signs of an infestation

Queens typically establish new nests in warm places that are near food and water sources. They also tend to choose spots where they are unlikely to be disturbed. They might choose wall plug outlets, inside interior walls and behind baseboards, cabinets and shelving.

The inaccessibility of such locations makes it hard for homeowners to track pharaoh ants back to their nests. You might come across a colony while doing renovation work; however, most people suspect they have an infestation only after seeing one or several ants scouting the premises or upon opening packaged foodstuffs that ants have raided.

Our pest control team will be able to correctly identify the species you’re dealing with by looking for ant trails along electrical wiring, bathroom piping and other warm, damp places that these insects like to frequent.

One thing you should NOT do

Because pharaoh ants are apt to split into several colonies and work collaboratively with each other, simply spraying a few specimens with a multi-purpose contact insecticide is not a good bet. It will simply encourage colony budding and end up boosting the ant population in your home.

We recommend the following process:

  • Inspect your building for specimens and satellite colonies.
  • Confirm the identification of the species.
  • Use the appropriate government-approved pest-control treatment to eliminate the colonies.
  • Block all entry points by sealing cracks and holes.
  • Carry out follow-up treatments as required.

If you choose to use an insecticide at home for a DIY treatment, check with Health Canada to see if it’s safe. Keep in mind that with the known persistence of pharaoh ant colonies, your best bet is to rely on an insect control company. Our technicians will gladly do the work for you.

Prevention tricks and tips

As with other kinds of ants, the secret to avoiding a pharaoh ant invasion is to remember that ants are happy in your home because they’re finding easy sources of food there. Keep them away by:

  • Emptying indoor garbage receptacles and compost bins frequently.
  • Storing kitchen waste in a container with a close-fitting lid.
  • Repackaging non-refrigerated foods in sealable containers.
  • Sweeping the floors and wiping down counter tops often.
  • Cleaning up spills immediately.
  • Not leaving unwashed dishes on counters or in the sink.
  • Putting soap in a closed soap dish and keeping the lid of your tube of toothpaste screwed on (unlike other species, pharaoh ants will eat these substances).

Call today to schedule an inspection with one of our technicians; you can rest assured that we will deal with the problem properly. Elite Pest Control boasts more than 10 years’ experience in dealing with pharaoh ants; we have the expertise and the necessary resources to eradicate an infestation.