Pharaoh Ant

Actual Size: 1/16″ to ⅛”

Characteristics: Small; typically light yellow to red, with black markings on the abdomen. 

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Nests are often located in inaccessible spots near moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, interior wall voids, under floors, and behind baseboards.


  • Attracted to moisture and will nest in inaccessible areas.
  • A dangerous hospital pest due to their ability to transmit disease organisms.
  • Can spread through a structure quickly as Pharoah ants frequently move nest locations.

Pharaoh Ants in Santa Fe and Albuquerque

Also called “sugar ants”, Pharaoh ants are small and one of the most difficult ants to control. Due to their large colonies, containing up to several million workers and thousands of queens, they are challenging to eliminate. An invasive species, they outnumber native ants, forcing them out of the area. Colonies multiply by “budding”, which gives them the ability to split and form new colonies when disrupted. Because of their budding ability, they can invade homes and buildings rapidly. Indoors, they will nest in inaccessible areas throughout a structure, but prefer lawns and gardens outdoors. 

Pharaoh Ant Habitat

Searching for food continuously, Pharaoh ants feed on a variety of foods including sweets, jams, proteins, and live or dead insects. Incredibly, they also have a preference for freshly used medical bandages, which attracts these ants to hospitals. Pharoah ants use chemical trails laid down by other workers in order to find food and nest in areas near moisture. Nests are located near a water resource, such as sprinkler systems and evaporative cooling units. Inside homes and businesses, Pharaoh ants nest in isolated locations near moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, under floors, and behind baseboards. In hospitals, nursing homes, and food-processing facilities, they appear in kitchens, laundries, boiler rooms, and around heating ducts, toilets, and pipes. 

Pharaoh Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although Pharaoh ants do not bite, due to their attraction to soiled bandages and their ability to contaminate food, they are a dangerous pest in hospital settings. They carry and transmit a number of dangerous pathogens to people and pets, including salmonella and streptococcus. Due to their small size, they can access almost any space, contaminating food and food prep surfaces in homes, kitchens, and cafeterias as they forage. Furthermore, most conventional pest control treatments do not control Pharaoh ants. If a Pharaoh ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact New Mexico Pest Control today!