Pharaoh ants have a wide range of preferences for the foods they eat and attempt to maintain a balanced diet especially when food is plentiful. The ants may alternate between protein-rich and carbohydrate-rich foods. Some of the foods pharaoh ants have a liking for include;
- Sugary foods
- Fatty or greasy foods
- Other dead insects
- Soiled diapers
- Used bandages
Their wide range of food preferences is one reason why these ants thrive in an indoor environment.
Pharaoh Ants Foraging Habits
Pharaoh ants dispatch scouts from the nest each morning to search for food. Once a scout locates a good source of food, it goes back to the nest to alert other workers. The workers follow a trail (made from pheromones release by the scout) to the food source.
Although pharaoh ants thrive in an indoor environment, they also show an inclination for foraging outdoors. This is why it is common to see pharaoh ants on window sills and door ways.
Pharaoh ants have various pheromones that they use to build trails. One is a long-lasting pheromone that is used to identify reliable or plentiful food sources. Yet another is a negative pheromone or repellant that warns other workers of danger or little food. The negative pheromone is rarely seen in ant species and is credited for much of pharaoh ants’ survival rate. In short, these ants have highly-adaptive and effective foraging habits making extermination all the more difficult.
Getting Rid of Pharaoh Ants
The best way to get rid of pharaoh ants in Toronto is to hire a professional exterminator. Baiting is the preferred method for extermination. This process involves poisoning the ant’s food. Workers unwittingly carry contaminated food back to the nest for the rest of the population to feed on.
DIY baiting has a high failure rate because of the ant’s diverse food preferences. Ineffective pest control may also cause a colony to split or bud where multiple queens may proceed to set up satellite colonies away from the original nest. This separation is typical when food supply is low or the nest is compromised or disturbed. Spraying is therefore ineffective for controlling pharaoh ants.
A professional exterminator is able to formulate the best baiting strategy based on the ant’s feeding habits and preferences at the time. It is a long process that often takes several months to a year. Hire an exterminator who guarantees his work because it is not uncommon for the ants to disappear for a while, set up new colonies and return more plentiful than ever if the job is not done right the first time.