Pharaoh Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ to ⅛”

Characteristics: Small; typically light yellow to red, with black markings on the abdomen.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Nests are often located in inaccessible spots near moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, interior wall voids, under floors, and behind baseboards.


  • Due to their small size, they are sometimes confused with thief ants.
  • Colonies are very large with over 300,000 individuals and multiple queens.
  • Potentially dangerous in hospitals due to their ability to transmit disease organisms.

Pharaoh Ants in the North and East Bay of California

Pharaoh ants are small and one of the most difficult household ants to control. Common in the North and East Bay of California, these ants produce large colonies, containing up to several million workers and thousands of queens. An invasive species, they outnumber native ants, forcing them out of the area. Pharaoh ant colonies practice budding, which means they can quickly split and form new colonies when disrupted. Due to their budding ability, they can spread throughout homes and buildings rapidly. Indoors, they will nest in inaccessible areas throughout a structure, but prefer lawns and gardens outdoors. 

Pharaoh Ant Habitat

Omnivores, Pharaoh ants feed on sweets, proteins, and live or dead insects. Preferring areas near moisture, outdoor nests are located near a water resource, such as sprinkler systems and evaporative cooling units. In homes, they favor the well-hidden voids in walls between the studs and insulation that offer warm breeding grounds. In hospitals, nursing homes, and food-processing facilities, they appear in kitchens, laundries, boiler rooms, and around heating ducts, toilets, and pipes. Pharaoh ants can spread throughout a home, traveling from room-to-room, utilizing electrical wiring and plumbing pipes. 

Pharaoh Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although Pharaoh ants do not bite, they carry and transmit a number of dangerous pathogens to people and pets, including salmonella and streptococcus. Due to their small size, they can access almost any space, contaminating food and food prep surfaces in kitchens and cafeterias as they forage. When they invade hospitals and nursing homes, they can contaminate sterile operating rooms, surgical equipment, and recovery rooms. Furthermore, most conventional pest control treatments do not control Pharaoh ants. If a Pharaoh ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact Western Exterminator, formerly Hitmen today!