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Description: Pharaoh ants are very small with workers about 1/16th inch long. Coloration ranges from yellow to light brown. The thorax lacks spines and the petiole has two nodes. These ants can be distinguished from thief ants by the three-segmented club at the end of their antenna.
Biology: These ants do not swarm; females mate within the nest and new colonies are formed by "budding" which means that part of the main colony moves en masse to a new location. There may be hundreds of thousands of ants within a colony. A female can produce 350 to 400 eggs in her lifetime. The entire life cycle is completed in 38 to 45 days at room temperature. Indoors, these ants develop year-round. Workers live approximately 9 to 10 weeks and queens 4 to 12 months.
Habits: Pharaoh ants are widely distributed throughout the United States. They can nest outdoors and are at times a crop nest. They are a major problem in homes and institutions such as hospitals, hotels, prisons, or apartment complexes. They nest within warm, hard - to- reach locations in walls, sub-floor areas, behind electrical sockets, attics, cracks and crevices, and behind baseboards and furniture.
Pharaoh ants eat dead and live insects but seem to prefer meats and greases. They also feed on sugar syrup, fruit juices, jellies, and cakes. These ants are especially important as pests within hospitals where they have been found to infest the dressings on patients' wounds, feed on secretions from newborn infants, in IV tubes, etc.