Pharaoh Ant

Actual Size: 1/16″ to ⅛”

Characteristics: Pharaoh ants are very small, and are typically light yellow to red, with black markings on the abdomen. 

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No


  • Attracted to moisture and will nest in inaccessible areas.
  • 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 South Carolina

Pharaoh ants are found throughout South Carolina and are known for being one of the smallest species of ants. Also known as tramp ants, this invasive species constructs transient colonies that splinter off and form new colonies when disturbed. These ants travel in set trails marching along carpets, countertops, and baseboards. Due to their splintering ability, Pharoah ant infestations can spread quickly in homes and buildings, forming colonies with over 300,000 workers and multiple queens. 

Pharaoh Ant Habitat

Foraging both day and night, Pharaoh ants feed on sweets, proteins, and live or dead insects.  Attracted to moisture, they will nest outside in shaded areas or under debris. In household structures,  Pharaoh ant nests are often located in inaccessible spots near moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, interior walls voids, under floors, and behind baseboards and or window sills. In institutional facilities, they are found in kitchens, laundries, boiler rooms, and around toilets, heating ducts, and pipes. Using electrical wires and plumbing pipes, Pharaoh ants can travel from room to room, spreading throughout a structure quickly. 

Pharaoh Ant Behavior, Threats or Dangers

Implicated in the spread of more than a dozen disease pathogens, Pharaoh ants are known to spread salmonella and streptococcus. They are potentially dangerous in hospitals due to their ability to transmit disease organisms. Due to their tiny size, Pharaoh ants can access almost any space, contaminating food as they forage. Additionally, this species can survive most conventional household pest control treatments,  establishing large colonies throughout a home or building. If a Pharaoh ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a licensed ant exterminator

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