Its evocative name reminds us of the ancient Egyptian kings and sows in our imagination the noble image of an ant unlike any other. Let's take a look at this social insect with six legs.
An Egyptian ant?
Its name was given by the Swedish naturalist Carl Von Linné in the 18th century after believing that the ant was one of the ten plagues of Egypt in the holy scriptures. In fact, the only insects on this list were lice, migratory locusts and fleas. Native to West Africa, this ant has spread all over the world thanks to international trade, by land and sea. If its name is misleading, this ant is no less atypical.
Who is she really?
Yellowish to light brown in color, pharaoh ant is very small.Often invisible to the naked eye, it is invasive but does not sting.The queens are the largest ants in the colony.They live about 200 days and have a reproductive role.Unlike many other ant species, they reproduce without leaving the nest and can fertilize up to 350 eggs.The workers are smaller and live about 70 days.Sterile, they are perfect organizers and are essential to the colony.Rather clever, they leave traces of pheromones on the ground as they move in single file to guide other ants to food.They also have the role of recruiting other workers on the way from the nest to the food.A perfectly orchestrated organization!
An invasive insect
Invasive, the pharaoh ant is today considered a real plague. Affectionate the hot places, it likes in the houses, the hospitals, the offices, the restaurants and can establish its nests in unusual spaces like in electrical outlets or between books installed in a library.
Nomadic, its colony is formed by "budding". A queen and a few workers will leave the current nest to establish another, and this is how the ants spread.
Some colonies are huge and can accommodate more than 300,000 ants.
Difficult to eradicate, it is often necessary to call in an expert because insecticides have no effect, the ants constantly moving to create satellite nests.
This non-dangerous species, however, can be really harmful. Omnivorous, the pharaoh ant will feed on what is lying around in your home and more particularly in your kitchen: cookies, meat, sugary drinks, flour, cereals ... however, it has the advantage of getting rid of bedbugs, fleas and fly larvae.
This invasive insect has become over time cosmopolitan. Even though he comes from the African continent, he has Egyptian only his name. Harmless to humans, it is however invasive and very difficult to eradicate. If you have them at home, be patient and do not use insecticide, because feeling threatened, they may proliferate more creating other nests.