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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants


Pharaoh ant

Ants trailing from outletPharaoh ants may travel from room to room on electrical wires

Colony Propogation

Unlike many other ants, pharaoh ants do not have mating flights to initiate new colonies. Neither females nor males can sustain flight. New colonies begin by budding where groups of workers carry brood stages to new locations. One or more queens may come along, although workers can raise new males and new queens from the brood. Colonies have multiple queens. Budding usually occurs when colonies become too large or are under stress by changes in temperature or availability of water or food. Budding may also be triggered by insecticide sprays applied to trailing workers. Colonies are very mobile and can spread quickly. Ants can spread quickly by being transferred on items such as laundry, groceries, or paper products.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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