Pharaoh ants are relatively straightforward to identify but the same can’t be said for sugar ants. The term sugar ant is unfortunately used loosely to refer to any small, house ant that is attracted to sweet or sugary foods. From this description alone, people often bundle together pharaoh ants, acrobat ants, pavement ants and odorous house ants among others. Strictly speaking though, sugar ant is a very specific species of ant native to Australia so it is highly unlikely that you have a ‘real’ sugar ant problem in Ontario. Call the Exterminators if you need an ant control exterminator and continue to read if you want to know differences between pharaoh and sugar ants.
Apart from the obvious differences in appearance, there are two other ways to tell apart pharaoh ants from sugar ants. Keep in mind that pharaoh ants are far more common in this part of the world than true sugar ants and you are probably dealing with an infestation of the former rather than the latter. Additional differences between the two types of ants include;
What is a Sugar Ant?
Sugar ant is a specific species of ant called the Camponotus consobrinus. The ants are found both outdoors and indoors and range in size anywhere from 2 to 15 millimeters. The male sugar ant is entirely black while the female worker has an orange-brown colored body.
What is a Pharaoh Ant?
Pharaoh ant is the ant species Monomorium pharaonis and is found almost anywhere in the world including the Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia. The ant is about 2 millimeters in size and has a light brown to yellow color. The ant looks almost transparent. The abdomen appears darker than the rest of the body.
As previously mentioned, ‘true’ sugar ants are mainly found in Australia, especially in south-east Australia. Pharaoh ants on the other hand are found all over the world and are plentiful in Canada. Sugar ants are rarely found indoors and instead prefer to nest in holes in plants, shrubs, twigs and trees. Pharaoh ants infest heated buildings given the chance and are often found in hospitals.
The pharaoh ant has a stinger although cases of attacking humans are extremely rare. Sugar ants do not have stingers and instead use their strong mandibles to attack or defend themselves. Attacks on humans are equally rare but not unheard of. Sugar ants also spray formic acid in self defense including in the wound after biting making these attacks particularly painful.
Getting Rid of Sugar Ants and Pharaoh Ants
Unless you live in Australia, there is little chance that you have a ‘true’ sugar ant infestation. Keep in mind that in Canada the term Sugar Ant is used to refer to pharaoh ants or pavement ants rather than the ‘true’ sugar ant species Camponotus consobrinus. In any case, hire a licensed exterminator in Canada to inspect the infestation and identify the type of ant you are dealing with. This is a critical step in coming up with the best solution for getting rid of ants permanently.
The most effective method for exterminating both these types of ants is baiting. This is where a poison, typically boric acid, is placed in the ant’s food source. The worker ants pick up the contaminated food and carry it to the colony for other ants to feast on. The insecticide is slow-acting so the worker ants won’t die before they have gotten back to the nest and shared the poison with others.
Although baiting is a common pest control for these types of ants, only an exterminator in Ontario would be able to guarantee a permanent solution to the infestation.
You first have to accurately identify the type of ant before taking the next course of action. Even when the ant is identified, these species prefer a wide variety of foods depending on the season including pastries, grease, jelly, syrup and even toothpaste. This makes baiting complex, frustrating and ineffective if you don’t know what you are doing.
Pharaoh ant colonies often have two or more queens. This is a problem when the colonies spilt, in which case one or more queens leaves the nest with workers, and sometimes eggs, to form a new colony elsewhere. This splitting or budding typically happens when the nest is attacked or disrupted (such as by spraying or using ineffective bait) or when the food source is eliminated.
The best course of action is to call the Exterminators: 647-496-2211 for sugar ant or pharaoh ant control in Toronto to resolve the problem and make sure you get a warranty for the extermination.
Updated: 20 June, 2018