Pharaoh Ants

East Northamptonshire Council does not provide treatment for Pharaoh ants.

But we have provided some information for your reference. Pharaoh ants are tiny, 2mm, yellow-brown, almost transparent ants that live in colonies inside buildings. 

Pharaoh ants originated in tropical countries and were brought into Great Britain due to international trade links. Being tropical insects they cannot withstand the British temperate climate and therefore are only found inside buildings.

They have become established in many large centrally heated buildings in Great Britain where temperatures remain constant and warm. Thus they are often found in blocks of flats, hospitals and similar large institutions.

They do not bite, but feed mainly on high protein foods, particularly meat, spreading germs from one place or food to another, and because of this can pose a health risk. This is the reason they need to be controlled.

Treatment

Members of the public are unable to self treat.

Pharaoh ants build several small nests throughout a building unlike the common black ant which builds one large nest. Due to the Pharaoh ants small size, they often form nests within the fabric of a building for example inside walls or insulation. 

Because of the way they infest a building it is useless to use a spray insecticide to eradicate them for two reasons;

a) The nest, brood and queen ants are inaccessible to operatives with spray equipment, and

b) Spraying some of the ants but not all of them, causes them to become stressed, causing break off groups to bud off, make another nest often spreading deeper into inaccessible areas of a building, and also to breed faster.

The ant "killers" available from DIY stores or chemists will not kill Pharaoh ant colonies. In fact the ant sprays and powders can worsen the problem by driving the ants into other areas of your home. The chemicals currently available to kill these ants can only be bought by pest control contractors. 

The most effective preventative measure against the ants is starving them. Add a poison bait and the ants will be sure to take an adequate quantity of bait back to their nests. The most attractive food to the ants is the food they are already getting, especially because their trails lead right to it. If their source of food is cut off they will look elsewhere for food. If poison baits are available this will become their main source of food, which the hungry ants will take back to the brood and queens in the nest.

Terraced Houses or Blocks of Flats

The Pharaoh ants nests could be widespread throughout the whole of a building and the ants will usually look for food everywhere. It is important that all affected properties are treated at the same time. This will ensure that wandering ants will come into contact with the bait and take it back to the nest. 

If baiting is done properly all the nests will be eventually poisoned. If some homes are not treated, some ants may remain unaffected and establish new colonies in or around these premises. If your neighbours have these ants it is important that you arrange with them to have the treatment done at the same time.

If your neighbours are not making an effort to control this insect or are unwilling to have the treatment carried out, the Council will take legal steps to require them to undertake control measures. The use of its legal powers can take the Council some considerable time and so it is much more effective if you can make arrangements with your neighbours to have the treatment carried out at the same time. 

In order to assist you in controlling the ants you are advised to:

a) Keep all food in sealed containers.

b) Do not leave food scraps lying around.

c) Keep all refuse in sealed containers.

d) Do not leave refuse in the house overnight. Remove it to an outside dustbin.

e) Regularly clean all kitchen work surfaces, especially last thing at night.

f) Store all kitchen equipment in a cleaned state.

g) Vacuum all floors regularly especially paying attention to food spills and waste.

h) Pull out and clean behind and around all cookers, refrigerators, washing machines and other moveable equipment.

Please contact Environmental Protection to discuss the most appropriate method of obtaining a treatment.