Ants are known as lovers of sweet things. Maybe this is because we usually see them swarming over spilled juice, candy or chocolate. But not all ants like to get that sugar rush. An example is the Pharaoh ant. There is a lot about this type of ant that will make you reevaluate everything that you know about ants.
Weird Habits of the Pharaoh Ant
If someone asks you, “What is the most dangerous insect in hospitals?” You probably will answer mosquito, roach, mice, rat or flies. It probably won’t occur to you that an ant could endanger the health of hospitalized people; but the Pharaoh ant does.
How do Pharaoh ants endanger health? Let’s take a look at the habits of the Pharaoh ant to understand this species better. Pharaoh ants are a major pest in hospitals and other medical facilities because they infect people. These ants have a tendency to swarm all over patients’ wounds, and they are even known to feed on the skin of vulnerable people. Premature babies and burn patients are the ones most at risk. Knowing these things will immediately make you imagine scary scenes straight out of a horror or alien movie, but it’s true.
Because Pharaoh ants feed on sick people, disease-causing microorganisms easily get attached on their exoskeleton or outer skin. Also, as they go from patient to patient, they continue to disperse harmful bacteria and viruses. Pharaoh ants are known to spread organisms like Clostridium and Streptococcus.
They transmit Clostridium spores that could cause tetanus (C. tetani), botulism (C. botulinum), or necrotizing intestinal tissue (C. perfringens). As for strep bacteria, these can cause throat infections, influenza, or impetigo. Group A strep (GAS) infections are usually milder as these bacteria are typically found on the skin and throat. But there are times when individuals succumb to streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, or they could become vulnerable to the flesh-eating bacteria, which is also known as necrotizing fasciitis that’s caused by an invasive type of strep bacteria.
Getting Rid of Pharaoh Ants
One of the most important factors to consider before implementing methods to eradicate Pharaoh ants is that these ants can easily build new colonies. So, when you disturb a colony using an inefficient method to eradicate them, you might only take them by surprise before they scatter and form new settlements in other areas. This will just make an infestation more severe. Remember that one fertilized queen is enough for this species of ant to rebuild a new and younger army of Pharaoh ants.
Many pest control experts admit that getting rid of Pharaoh ants is a real challenge. One main reason here is that they create their nests in places that are hidden and out-of-reach. This is why pest control measures must be all-encompassing. Experts could use the direct method wherein pesticides are directly applied on the ants. Others prefer the bait method where poisoned baits are placed in strategic locations. The advantage here is that worker ants will bring deadly foods to their queen. But one disadvantage is that results are not always immediate.
Claire Clarke is a freelance writer who regularly blogs for a Raleigh extermination company, Insight Pest. She also shares her thoughts about green pest control methods, and she also writes about methods to eradicate common household pests.