How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem

A compilation of tips on how to identify pharaoh ants and how to get rid of them for good.
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: August 19, 2023
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Ever heard of pharaoh ants? They are also called sugar ants and as it is, they are one of the most annoying pests found in the home. They are also the hardest to control and prevent. With their high sensitivity, once they begin to pop up, it is almost impossible to get rid of them – but not impossible (just almost).

So what are the steps for how to get rid of pharaoh ants? That is what this post is all about. Dedicated to the elimination and prevention of these household ants, this guide will contain information on how to identify them and differentiate them from other ant types. It will also include a navigation guide on how to figure out their nest and trails. Ad-mist other informational points, it will contain the ultimate methods on how to get rid of pharaoh ants in the home permanently – with or without natural remedies. So without further ado, keep scrolling.


How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem

Starting with the first step, you need to know whether or not you are dealing with pharaoh ants to know how to get rid of them. First, pharaoh ants are not the only type of sugar ants – they are just the most commonly found ones because they prefer to be indoors than outdoors (a fond characteristic of the Argentine ‘sugar’ ant).

To identify a pharaoh ant, look at its body and its color. They are usually of the pale shade of either yellow, orange, or red. But more importantly, the abdomen of a pharaoh ant is usually darker – could sometimes be black, even.

They have no spine (although that might not be easy to identify physically), they are also long and thick. They have two long antennae, 6 legs, and a monomorphic shape with a segmented body.

Nests And Trails

How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem

The next step to knowing how to get rid of pharaoh ants in an apartment is to understand their preferred habitat. That way, you’ll know where to find them. Pharaoh ants make their nest in places that are warm and moist. This is even more certain if this location is close to water and food sources. They also don’t make nests in open and visible places like bees and wasps.

Pharaoh ants go under the floor, inside of your furniture pieces, or even amid wall voids and behind baseboards to make their nest. They also go within ceilings, the attic, behind window sills, switch plates, under door frames, around hot water pipes, within and somewhere near toilets, or sinks, between stagnant sheets of paper, laundry, and linen, or even on food.

As regards their trail and where they journey into your home, pharaoh ants often get in through the holes and cracks created in the wall and/or floorboards.

This is even more possible in apartments where pipes, telephone wires, and electrical circuits cause passage openings through the walls.

Further, they can also be found in hot heating pipes and their installations. Pharaoh ants also nest in the hollows of curtain rods right in your home, or behind fixed (immovable) kitchen appliances.

Why Pharaoh Ants Are Dangerous

This can also be translated to ‘why you need to know how to get rid of pharaoh ants in the home ASAP.’ Pharaoh ants might not bite or sting you but they pose more threat than direct contact. First, they have an insatiable thirst for water and can do anything to get a drink. This means they can crawl in and out of toilet drains, kitchen sink pipes, and so on and then back onto your exposed food and edibles. They are also carriers of many human pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, and so on. These pathogens can cause uncomfortable symptoms, some even having to do with the blood and sensitive organs – so it is a serious case and a certain point that you need to know how to get rid of pharaoh ants (and fast).

How To Get Rid Of Pharaoh Ants In The House Or Apartment

Seal All Their Ways and Holes

The first thing to do is prevent more of those household ants from coming in. Therefore, make sure that all holes and ways that they can pass through into your house or apartment are sealed off. Since pharaoh ants are so versatile in their trail, it would be recommended that you take all the time you need to ensure that their passageways are sealed.

Check the doors, floor, windows, and ceilings for gaps and seal them with caulk.

Eliminate crevices and ensure that pantries (most especially) are free from cracks.


The next step is to find the best insecticide that will eliminate pharaoh ants once and for all from your home. Don’t use repellent sprays because you won’t be repelling them from your home but to another location. This could also make matters worse because you would be splitting up the colony making for more reproduction and harder ants to find.

You should use the non-repellent insecticide spray as a bug barrier also against more ants coming in.

When applying your insecticide, focus on their nests.

Spray around the windows, doors, and baseboards. Also go to your toilet, pantry, and kitchen since they are the target spots for their breeding.

Also, attend to all rooms within the house or apartment and spray on all the corners and susceptible spots for their nests. Go outside your home as well to get rid of them on your lawn. Spray on any pile you might have stocked up around your house. Also, go around the porches, shrubs, trees, patios, and so on to eliminate them wherever they might be.


Baiting is the most effective method to eliminate pharaoh ants without the use of chemicals and artificial products. It simply involves luring the ants to complete annihilation. There are three steps to effective baiting.

Locate Ant Trail

How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem

Ant trails are how you can estimate where they’ll pass through to place the bait. Aside from pipes and wall holes, they usually trail under the edges of carpets, baseboards, and near door moldings. But if you can’t seem to find their trails, you can create one.

To create a trail, dab some honey and peanut butter on a piece of flat cardboard. Then place the card on the floor near door frames, window sills, or even on two walls meet.

Place these cards in three to four more places around the house and study which cards have the most ant attraction. That will help you know where to place the bait.

Place the Bait

How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem

The type of bait you choose depends on which appeals to you the most. Ant baits are made from different materials that scent lovely to ants but also kill them when eaten by them. Usually, when pharaoh ants find food, they don’t eat them there – as with other ants. They take the piece back to their colony where the rest of the ants and their Queen takes a bite. Therefore, when you place the bait along their trail (using the test cited in step 1), you could eliminate their entire colony without risking a spread.

Monitor the Bait

Sometimes, ants switch food preferences during baiting and might not take the bait any longer. This is when you can either switch locations or switch bait types. Either way, these can only be possible if you monitor the quantity of bait that is left, the amounts of ants that come back, and how long it takes for the bait to reduce if it did.

How To Get Rid Of Pharaoh Ants Naturally

If you want to know how to get rid of pharaoh ants naturally – you need to ensure that you have located their nest. This is because trying to kill them off on their trail can scatter them and make things worse. Therefore, if you have located their trail (or created one), follow them back to find their nest. Then you can use any of these natural methods to get rid of pharaoh ants permanently.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth: While some other products like vinegar and cinnamon may repel the ants (not a recommended choice), using diatomaceous earth can dry them out and kill them permanently. It is also a safe option to use indoors since it is not in any way harmful or dangerous to pets and humans. Also, ants don’t have to eat or consume the substance in any way. You only need to make sure the powder enters its nest. All the fat and oil in the ant’s exoskeleton will dry off and they’ll die.
    How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem
  2. Baking Soda and Sugar Bait: Somewhat similar to diatomaceous earth, baking soda also dries out ants by consumption. This is also very effective because it happens quickly – almost in the blink of an eye. Simply sprinkle baking powder on their nest and that will do it. If you want them to take the bait, add sugar droplets to fasten the process.
  3. Boric Acid: Known to be highly effective to get rid of many insects and pests, boric acid can also get rid of pharaoh ants permanently. If you cannot get Boric acid, you can use borax and you’ll still get the same result. Just as with baking soda, pour some boric acid or borax onto their nest and they’ll dry out almost immediately. If you are worried about your pets and kids, mix it with a little amount of water and put it in a spray bottle. Then take your time to spray their trail and their nest for the best results.

Prevention (Keep Home Clean, Use Dehumidifier, No Standing Water)

As mentioned in the subtitle, there are three ways to prevent pharaoh ants from invading your home even after you have eliminated them. These methods can also stop them from entering your house in the first place.

  1. Clean your Home: When you ensure that your home and all the corners are free from dirt and moist build-up, you can ensure that your home stays pest-free. Since the most obvious nesting places for pharaoh ants are moist and warm spots like corners, beneath places, and hidden spots, these should be your target during cleaning seasons. In addition to this, make sure that you dispose f your bin very frequently and avoid having leftovers litter your home.
    How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in Your Home: Solutions to the Problem
  2. Use a Dehumidifier: By choosing to use a dehumidifier for your home, you can eliminate the moist attractions that draw in pharaoh ants/ By keeping your moisture level low, they won’t be attracted to staying in your house not to speak of building a nest there.
  3. Eliminate stagnant water: Standing or stagnant water also attracts pharaoh ants as mentioned one or two times throughout this guide. So when you eliminate or get rid of standing water, you put another factor in place to repel pharaoh ants.
  4. Caulk Away: This means that you should take the time to seal off any crack or opening in the doors, windows, or walls. Use caulk to ensure that the opening stays sealed and locked away from ants to crawl into your home.
  5. Vinegar Safe-proofing: Finally, you can also use vinegar to safe proof your home from pharaoh ants. Vinegar is a natural repellent for pharaoh ants and so, since they aren’t already in your home, you can use them to ensure that they stay out of your apartment. To get the best results, mix vinegar with some water and pour it into a spray bottle. Then repeatedly go over all the high-intensity zones where pharaoh ants are likely to appear and build nests. Do this once a week or more.


1.                What is the habitat of pharaoh ants?

Pharaoh ants love to nest in places that are warm and moist. Some of these places include the under the floor, inside your furniture pieces, amid wall voids, behind baseboards, within ceilings, in the attic, behind window sills, switch plates, under door frames, around hot water pipes, within and somewhere near toilets, or sinks, between stagnant sheets of paper, laundry, and linen, or even on food.

2.                What do pharaoh ants eat?

Pharaoh ants eat anything from sweet things like honey, peanut butter, sugar, and syrups. They also feed on fruits, oils, meat, and all sorts of groceries. If all of these are not present, you can find them feeding on show polish, dead insects, soda, used bandages, soiled diapers, proteins, and so much more.

Final Thoughts

Pharaoh ants are widely known as the common sugar ant that gets attracted to sugary foods left on the table and floors. But more than that, they eat all sorts of things and are also risky to leave around the house. Though they don’t bite or sting you or your pets, they carry and transmit diseases that can be highly life-threatening. Hence, you must know how to get rid of pharaoh ants. Luckily, when you put all the tips and steps enlisted throughout this guide, you’ll be able to eliminate pharaoh ants in your home and apartment. You would also be able to safe-proof and prevent the re-occurrence of pharaoh ants in and outside your home – leading to a healthy and ant-free environment.

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