Pharaoh ants are very small; workers are about 1/16 inch long. They range from yellow to light brown. The thorax lacks spines, and the petiole has two nodes. These ants can be distinguished from thief ants because they have three-segmented club at the end of the antenna.
These ants do not swarm; females mate in the nest, and new colonies are formed by “budding”. This means part of he main colony moves in masse to a new location. There may be hundreds of thousands of ants in a colony. A female produces 350 to 400 eggs in her lifetime. The entire life cycle is completed in 38 to 45 days at room temperature. Indoors these ants develop year round. Workers live approximately nine to ten weeks, and queens live four to twelve months.
Pharaoh ants are widely distributed throughout the United States. They can nest outdoors and are at times a crop pest; they are major problems in homes and institutions, such as hospitals hotels, prisons or apartment complexes. They nest in warm, hard-to-reach locations in walls, subfloor areas, wall sockets, attics, cracks, crevices, behind baseboards, and furniture.
Pharaoh ants eat dead or live insects but seem to prefer meats or greases. They also feed on sugar syrup, fruit juices, jellies, and cakes. These ants are an especially important pest in hospitals where they have been found infesting the dressings on patients’ wounds, feeding on secretions from new born infants, in IV tubes, etc.