Notable Ants: Pharaoh Ants

More than 12,000 known species of ants exist in our world.  Because of their diversity, many interesting ants have become popular throughout globe.  Some are scary, some are harmful, some are just plain interesting to observe.  Some stand out because of their conquering ways, feeding habits, economic impact, and geographical distribution. This is part one in our series on a few notable ants in our world:

The Pharaoh Ant

pharaoh ant
Pharaoh Ant – courtesy Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org
No, the Pharaoh ant (monomorium pharaonis) was not the insect that invaded Egypt just before Moses led the children out of Israel, but it was mistakenly named the Pharaoh ant because scholars once thought that it was. While it does not deserve any credit for helping free God’s Children from slavery in Egypt, the ant is native to Africa and has made its mark all over the world.  

Its colonies vary in size — up to several hundred thousand individuals. It is an indoor pest and has remarkable resistance to many pesticides, so controlling its population can be difficult. They like fatty, sweet, or oily foods, so they are a very serious danger since they carry disease-causing microbes that contaminate animal and human food.

Regarding Pharaoh Ants:

  • Colonies multiple queens, making it easy for them to form multiple colonies.
  • The males die within five weeks of mating.
  • Often referred to as “sugar ants,” they also eat other insects.
  • The ants have been known to be carriers of salmonella and other diseases. They can spread infection, especially in medical facilities.
  • Can lift three times their body weight.

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