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Habitat

Originally a tropical ant species, the Pharaoh ant is most likely to have originated in North African or Mediterranean areas. It was first observed and recorded in Britain in the early 1800's. In temperate climates it is an indoor species associated particularly with large facilities such as hospitals and prisons. It is a complex organism, which may often prove very difficult to control due to it's ordered social hierarchy and behavioural complexity.

Biology

Social insects, pharaohs ants have a colony which is centered on a queen or reproductive female. Unlike some other ant species, the queen may be replaced by other queens. This feature is important, as new queens can be produced when needed, hence colonies are able to split - particularly significant to the PCO.

Pest Status

Of particular note in hospitals where their foraging activities may be responsible for cross contamination of food, and sterile supplies. The foraging worker ant has a noted liking for feeding from wounds where they cause infection and intense irritation. Small colonies may be made in moveable items such as bags and laundry which provides the potential for the colonies to spread.

Control

Thorough survey by professional personnel is highly recommended. The use of conventional residual treatments is generally not effective, as some solvent types may cause the nest to fragment. Baiting may be effective if the active ingredient is slow acting. Good results have been shown by using Juvenile Hormone based treatments.

 
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