Pharaoh ants are a tiny species of ants. Usually about 1/16 inches in length, they have a reddish yellow color with their abdomens having a much darker hue. They are presumed by many to be one of the plagues inflicted on the biblical Pharaoh; hence the name Pharaoh ants. These tiny insects can cause serious nightmare in a hospital because they are capable of transmitting diseases and feeding on the injury of patients.
You may wonder how these small creatures can pose a threat to the hospital? It is noteworthy that a single colony of Pharaoh ants can cause casualty on over 3,000 patients. Pharaoh ants are unique and different from the ordinary ant in the sense that they possess destructive abilities; which can especially be a cause of nightmare if they infest a hospital.
Interestingly, unlike other ants who enjoy the outdoor environment, Pharaoh ants do not consider outdoors a comfortable and suitable option. They prefer to make their habitat indoors. For this reason they become a menace and a significant problem. They feed on proteins, sweets, oil, and even on other household bugs, making it a cause of worry to have an infestation in a hospital.
Reasons Pharaoh Ants are a Nightmare for Hospitals
Pharaoh ants are tiny:
As mentioned above, these ants are incredibly small and can fit or pass through even the tiniest of spaces Their existence in a hospital can be tragic and horrible because they can cause damages to both patients and medical supplies. With their size, they can find accommodation in an unspotted position and build a colony to unleash havoc in the hospital.
Pharaoh ants do not require soil:
Unfortunately, these ants do not need the provision of soil to build their abode. Unlike other ants, they can live almost anywhere! They can build their colonies in small wall or floor cracks or an undisturbed place. Due to its ability to live almost everywhere, a hospital is not excluded. They can make their colonies in hospital beds, linen sheets, and any sensitive hospital equipment. This makes Pharaoh ants a serious menace in a hospital.
Pharaoh ants grow their colonies quickly and split:
The existence of more than one queen in the Pharaoh ant colony makes the colonies increase in numbers. Each queen has a lifespan of over 12 months and has the ability to lay eggs herself.
The queen breeds continually throughout her lifetime. This results in production of a large number of ants quickly! And the numbers of these ants will be overwhelming with time.
The ants will eventually split due to the existence of multiple queens in the colony when a threat is perceived by a queen. This makes it difficult to fully eradicate the ants when they infest a hospital.
Pharaoh Ants Are Disease Carriers:
These ants are bacteria and other pathogenic disease carriers. This is obvious since they have the habit of eating and crawling around garage bags, trash cans, rim of toilet bowls and dirty drains and more. These same ants will still infest a hospital and spread the pathogens they have picked up from the dirt. When they infest a hospital, they tend to contaminate certain things such as patient’s food, already sterilized hospital tools and more.
Pharaoh ants can feed on patients:
These ants can feed on sweets as well as proteins, so they tend to feed on the wounds of patients when they infest the hospital. Unfortunately, they are tiny enough to squeeze through gauze bandaging.
How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants
Although, it may prove difficult to get rid of Pharaoh ants due to their nesting in inaccessible areas. Good news is it is still possible to get rid of them. The use of baits is the most preferred method of getting rid of Pharaoh ants in the hospital. In addition, insecticides labeled for indoor ant control can also be used to get rid of Pharaoh ants in the hospital.