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Bug Control / Insect Control / Pest Control Category: Ants

Improvement Project:

How to get rid of pharaoh ants and prevent their infestation.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):


To effectively get rid of pharaoh ants and prevent any future encounter with them in or around your house, you'll need to know a little about them, and such pertinent information follows:

Physical Description:

Pharaoh ants are one of the smallest ants in size compared to other ant species, each appearing roughly 1/16 of an inch in length. They are primarily colored yellow to red; their abdomens have black markings.


Pharaoh ants eat a variety of other insects, sweetened foods and meat.


Pharaoh ants live indoors and outdoors.

Pharaoh ants cannot survive the winter season in most parts of the United States, unless they are indoors.

They live in nests (also known as "galleries") that are located in a variety of locations:  Outdoors, they nest in house lawns, gardens and other places that can become moist, including in the crevices of moist, rotting wood in general; indoors, they nest in crevices and voids of wall, in kitchens and bathrooms (around sinks, drains, toilets, etc.), and near window sills and behind baseboards.

Control treatment: (1) Store Product for Barrier Approach:

You may opt to buy insecticide products available at hardware stores, home improvement centers, department stores, and pest control supply stores.  You can buy a chemical-free, sticky-barrier product called Tanglefoot, which is specifically designed to stop insects, like ants, in their tracks while in contact with such a sticky compound.


For specifically attempting to effectively control and eliminate pharaoh ants from your property, you'll want to avoid buying residual insecticide spray products, as such are way too fast-acting to the extent, if anything, foraging ants that have had contact with the insecticide will die off without being given the chance to lethally infect the whole ant colony.  In this light, you want to buy and apply insecticide products in the form of a non-liquid application, which are commonly referred to as bait products. These bait products are designed to slowly act so that enough time is given for infected foraging ants to go back to the colony to infect the remaining population and then quickly kill them all off, within a matter of days.  Otherwise, insecticide spray products, when applied, will kill the foraging ants and cause the ant colony to break apart into other defined populations as a result of the sudden residual insecticide effects.  Examples of such bait products include the Maxforce Ant Bait, Advance 375 Ant Bait, and Maxforce Ant Granulars; depending on product specifications, a bait product may also be used inside your house.

Bait products are the preferred method of controlling pharaoh ants, as indicated above.  If you must use an insecticide spray, you should select one that is a non-repellent type, which is an insecticide that ants will not detect--either by taste or smell--until they have been infected with it and die as a result of it.  An example of such a non-repellent insecticide spray is Phantom, which targets not only ants, but also cockroaches, and can be applied outside and inside a house.

Once applied, these products will offer their insecticide protection for a limited time before their effectiveness wears off and, consequently, another application is required.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with insecticide products, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions. 

Control treatment: (2) Store Product for Direct-Contact Approach:

If the perimeter treatment above is not enough, or you are otherwise dealing primarily with an infestation from the inside of your house, you'll need to buy insecticide products that are designed to be applied inside your house.  These products usually come in the form of an aerosol can with a tip to insert in a crevice or crack suspected of harboring pharaoh ants.  These products include the following:  Crack & Crevice I-Cyfluthrin and Crack & Crevice II-Propoxur. Such products are to be applied directly on the nests that you observe. 

Alternatively, as the manufacturer instructions permit, you may be able to use these products inside as well, as briefly noted above:  Demon WP, Cyper WP, Cyonara 9.7, and Dominion 2L.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with insecticide products, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions. 


Moisture-free.  Get rid of moisture from your house that may be accessible to such ants.  This means regularly inspecting your house for any water leaks, and immediately repairing any plumbing leaks or roof leaks.

Porous-free.  Make sure that your house is as sealed as can be, and this includes doing the following:  Using a caulking gun, cocked with a caulking tube of the appropriate caulking, seal all porous openings to your house, such as foundation cracks, window crevices, wall crevices in general, and particularly the crevices surrounding the utility lines that enter your house walls.

Wood maintenance.  Keep brush and specifically tree branches trimmed enough so that they do not make contact with the house.  Furthermore, if you store any sort of wood outside, be sure to keep such wood off the ground by laying it over bricks so that the bricks are the only objects touching the ground and not the wood, itself.

The above information should prove to be useful in attempting to learn how to effectively get rid of pharaoh ants and prevent any future encounter with them in or around your house.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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