Pavement Ant Control: Protect Your Home

Appearance

What Do Pavement Ants Look Like?
pavement ant image
Size: Worker ants range from 3 to 4 mm in length, while alates or winged fertile workers may be twice that size. The queen is typically 6 mm in length at minimum.

Color: Pavement ants typically appear light to dark brown in color. Some are even darker and almost black.

Characteristics: The body of the pavement ant consists of a head, a thorax and an abdomen. A pedicel connects the thorax to the abdomen and has two segments. The thorax features a pair of spines that project upwards and backwards, though male alates typically lack this physical characteristic. In the last abdominal segment, the ant species possesses a stinger. Pavement ants are also identifiable by the parallel furrows or lines present on both the head and thorax.

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Facts

  • Name: Known for nesting beside or underneath sidewalks, driveways and foundations, the pavement ant is a considerable pest found throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Distribution: One of most commonly encountered ant species in commercial buildings, pavement ants enter structures through expansion joints and cracks in the slab to search for readily available sources of food and heat.
  • Habitat: The insects are found in various soil types and prefer to nest in areas with little to no vegetation, making urban settings ideal. Pavement ants typically form large colonies of up to 10,000 workers.

Food

What Do Pavement Ants Eat?
Pavement ants are omnivorous insects that feed on:

  • Various plants
  • Dead and live arthropods
  • Sugars
  • Nectar
  • Fruit syrups

In human domiciles, the foraging insects seek out and feed on both sweet and greasy foods.

Biology

Mating
Male and female pavement ants each possess wings prior to mating. After the mating process completes, the female queens lose their wings while the males typically die.

Eggs
Queens lay up to 40 eggs per day. Fertilized eggs produce either workers or other queens, while unfertilized eggs become males.

Larvae
Grub-like larvae hatch from the eggs and undergo three larval instars before becoming adults.

Colonies
In pavement ant colonies, multiple queens typically take responsibility for all egg-laying, while workers tend to the young throughout the life cycle. With more than one queen, nests tend to grow rapidly.

Lifespan
Workers may live for up to five years, while queens generally live much longer.

Detection

  • Soil: Look for excavated soil outside of nest entrances near sidewalks, building foundations, patios, and driveways.
  • Swarms: May notice swarms of pavement ants indoors.
  • Pavement: Look for pavement around baseboards, expansion joints, and floor registers in office buildings.

Problems Caused by Pavement Ants

Property Damage
The most common problems caused by pavement ants stem from the nesting behaviors of the pests.

Pavement ants typically build their nests under foundations, roads, and walkways, which may sink or resettle and cause structural damage over time.
Colonies
The pests also forage and swarm in buildings and homes, causing large populations to grow if left unchecked.

Stings
Additionally, the pavement ant may sting when handled or alarmed, although this is rare.

Signs of Infestation

  • Dirt: When excavating nests, the pavement ant may leave piles of soil and dirt at the entrance, which creates identifiable mounds near sidewalks and other paved areas.
  • Trails: Though nocturnal by nature, foraging pavement ants may leave trails to and from food sources.
  • Swarms: During mating season, the swarming insects become highly noticeable and often reveal the existence of a nearby pavement ant infestation.

Prevention Tips

  • Exclusion: To prevent pavement ant infestations, find and seal all areas of ingress around the home. Sealing gaps and cracks in exterior walls may help deter the insects from moving inside.
  • Sanitation: Keeping the house clean and free of dropped food also proves beneficial.
  • Baits: For outdoor protection, sweeping certain prescribed pest solutions into cracks and mounds may prevent nests from growing or ants from returning to the site.

Tips for Removal from Home

Baits & Traps
Traps and baits may be effective in controlling a pavement ant infestation.

However, due to the large size of the typical pavement ant colony, some home baits may not work as effectively since the poison acts slowly and may not distribute efficiently.

Call the Professionals
For large infestations of pavement ants, contacting a certified and trained pest control professional is the most effective way to remove the pests.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857