Last Updated: December 30, 2016
Pavement ants, also known as Tetramoriam Caespitum, are common pests. These aggressive ants are found in all fifty states, though they are more prevalent throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and throughout the upper Midwest. They are native to Europe, and have been present in the United States since being introduced sometime during the 18th century.
Identifying Pavement Ants
Identifying pavement ants is not at all difficult. The worker ants that can often be seen foraging are approximately 1/8th inch long, with dark brown to black coloration. Inside their colonies, winged queen pavement ants which are approximately two times the size of the workers spend their time laying eggs, which are then tended by younger worker ants. Drone pavement ants are about the same size as queens; they are winged also and typically take nuptial flights during the spring and summer months, during which they mate with flying queens.
These ants come by their name honestly – they create massive colonies in pavement, particularly under sidewalks and driveways, and around building foundations. One of the best ways to tell if you’ve got a pavement ant infestation is to watch for little heaps of dirt and debris on paved surfaces. If there are boards, logs, large rocks, or other items sitting on top of the ground on your property, it’s likely that you may find pavement ants beneath them as this ant species will nest in all kinds of places – even those that seem to be fairly impenetrable.
Pavement ants are not picky eaters. They will consume almost anything, including seeds, nuts, insects, and all kinds of human food including sweets and greasy items. From fruit to meat, nothing is off the pavement ant’s menu! Foraging pavement ants will travel as far as 30 feet from their colonies in search of food; they are well-known for setting up permanent trails to and from sources of abundant food. Often, the first sign of an infestation is a trail of ants marching through your home or another building where food is present.
Controlling Pavement Ants
The first step in controlling pavement ants is to locate the colony. To do this, watch where the ants are coming from, and once you reach a wall, go to the other side of it to see if you can determine how the ants are getting into your living or work space. Often, minuscule cracks allow these tiny invaders to enter unchecked, so once you’ve discovered how the ants are getting in, use silicone sealer or a similar substance to eliminate the gaps.
Next, look for any other gaps or cracks in exterior walls where pavement ants might be able to enter. Seal any cracks that look like potential entry points, and look for any areas where drainage problems or leaks might exist since these problems can lead to more cracks by undermining the foundation’s supportive structure.
If you find anthills you’d like to eliminate, you can use an insecticide labeled for use against outdoor ants all around the anthills. You can also lay down a barrier of this same insecticide outside your home. If you discover that colonies of pavement ants are living beneath sidewalks or driveways, you can use a granulated insecticide to treat the area. Sprinkle it on; then, use a broom to push the granulated insecticide down into the cracks and crevices where ants are present. You can also flood the area with liquid insecticide.
In the event you discover a colony of pavement ants living inside a floor void or wall, use household insecticide to eliminate them. Get as close to the nest area as you can, and either push granulated insecticide into the general area or inject liquid insecticide directly into the nest area. Be sure to keep pets and curious children away.
If you have a pavement ant infestation and cannot find the colony, you can use insecticide sprays on ants you find, or you can use ant baits to begin controlling the colony’s population from a distance. Again, keep kids and pets away from ant baits as they are poisonous.
Pavement ants are fairly easy to eliminate on your own. Be tenacious in your efforts and soon enough, you’ll discover that ants are no longer making their way into your home.