Pest Library | Pharaoh Ants

Monomorum pharaonis 

Pharaoh ant - Monomorum pharaonis
Color: Golden Yellow to Red with Black Markings
Legs: 6
Shape: Two-Segments; sting
Size: 1/12 to 1/16″
Antennae: Yes
Region: Throughout the US
One of the most common household ants, the Pharaoh Ant is the most difficult to control. This ant (also known as the Sugar Ant or Piss Ant) is probably a native of Africa and has been carried by commerce worldwide. The name Pharaoh Ant comes from the mistaken tradition that it was one of the plagues of ancient Egypt.


Pharaoh Ants eat a wide variety of foods including sweets, fats and proteins and other insects – living or dead. They eat sugars, syrups, fruit juices, jellies, cakes and pies, meats, grease, oils – even shoe polish and bath sponges. They travel in set trails along carpets, countertops, cabinets, flooring, and baseboards. These ants do not swarm, their colonies multiply by “budding” – a small group of workers and a queen will migrate to start a new colony.


In warm climates, Pharaoh Ants nest outdoors in gardens or lawns. Indoors, Pharaoh Ants nest in areas where there is a source of warmth and water – A/C Units, boilers, heating ducts and pipes, radiators, kitchens, laundry rooms, sinks, drains, toilets and in wall voids. They can also be found in odd places like light sockets, curtain rods, potted plants, between sheets of stationary, between the folds of bed linen and clothing, in appliances and even the trash.


When disturbed, a colony of Pharaoh Ants will scatter and create new colonies. They do not sting and usually do not bite. They are also known to carry pathogenic bacteria like salmonella, staphylococcus, pseudomonas, and clostridium. An infestation in a hospital can be a major threat as they can quickly spread disease and contaminate sterile rooms and equipment.


To prevent entry into a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices. Trim shrubs/trees away from the home. Eliminate any moisture problems. This is not an ant you can get rid of on your own, contact a pest control professional for assistance.

* Information courtesy of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Entomology and Nematology; and the Texas A&M University, AgriLife Extension, Entomology Department.

For more information on South Jersey Ants, check out the articles in AB-Con’s Bug Blog: