Small and yellow, or light brown in colour, the Pharaoh Ant presents a Pest Control problem all year round in London and across Britain. Pharaoh ant nests are found in big buildings, such as hospitals, and have a reputation for being difficult to get rid of.
These tiny, fast-spreading pests are attracted to large, warm buildings because of the heat given off by their huge networks of radiators and hot water pipes. No one is quite sure where the pharaoh ants first came from, or when they arrived in the UK, but experts agree that they came in from more tropical climates.
Because of their origins, the ants love warm and humid conditions. This makes blocks of flats, hospitals and similar buildings ideal for them, because they are kept warm all year round.
Can pharaoh ants live outside in the UK?
The British weather, with all its variety, makes it virtually impossible for pharaoh ants to live outside for very long. If you spot light brown or ginger ants outdoors in Britain they are highly unlikely to be of the pharaoh variety.
There are about 30 species of ant living in UK, many of which thrive outdoors all year round. While they can be irritating, particularly when they get into your home or office, these ants perform a useful task, cleaning up waste material and controlling other pests.
However, all pharaoh ant nests are located inside flats and other buildings, because they simply cannot live outside in summer. Their tropical origins prevent them from establishing ant colonies outdoors.
Pest control for pharaoh ants
These almost invisible insects are more than just a scurrying nuisance, running up and down the floors and walls of hospitals and other large buildings. Pharaoh ants have been blamed for spreading ill-health, including food poisoning, because they find their way into places where food is stored.
Having travelled along dirty pipes and picked up old scraps of food, the ants carry germs that can cause sickness. These can be transferred to into places food is stored, causing infection.
Pharaoh ants can also get into sterile environments and supplies, particularly in hospitals, where they can again cause infection.
Because of this, landlords, hospitals and local authorities regularly have to take pest control action against pharaoh ant infestations. The ant nests, which can appear huge because the ants make lots of small nests near to one another, are difficult to eradicate. They are often built inside walls and only professional pest controllers can deal with them.
There is no way for pharaoh ants to live outside in summer in the UK, but this has not stopped them becoming a serious pest control problem that requires action when discovered.