Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) are one of the most common ant species to invade homes and yards. They get their name from their habit of building nests between cracks in pavement. While these pests are more of an outdoor problem, they do sneak into homes. Check out how to identify pavement ants and eliminate an infestation.
How do You Identify Pavement Ants?
Pavement ants grow between 1/16"-1/8". They are dark brown or black with lighter-colored legs and antennae. Queen ants are larger than worker ants. Male and queen ants have wings. After mating, queens usually lose their wings. Pavement ants have a segmented, oval-shaped body. These ants have a pair of spines on their back and do have a stinger.
Where Do You Find Pavement Ants?
Pavement ants prefer to spend their time outside. They nest in soil found between cracks in pavement and under objects in your yard including stones. These ants often leave behind piles of soil, which can help you find their nesting site. When these ants move indoors, they nest in insulation, wall voids, and under floors. Pavement ants can be found throughout the United States but are most common on the East Coast.
Signs of a Pavement Ant Infestation
Identifying an infestation early will make it easier to eliminate the colony. Here are a few signs that pavement ants have invaded your space.
- Ant Trails: Worker ants leave their nest to forage for food. You may see ants trailing throughout your yard or in your home. This can be tricky because these ants forage at night. If ants are swarming, you could see them too.
- Dirt Mounds: When pavement ants build nests, they leave behind piles of soil. These dirt mounds can be found on driveways, sidewalks, patios, or near your home’s foundation.
How Did Pavement Ants Get Into My Home?
Pavement ants sneak into homes through cracks in your home’s foundation and walls. Once inside, they can build nests in walls, insulation, and under floors. They enter homes searching for food and moisture. Their diet consists of insects and nectar, as well as food your family likes to eat including sweets, meats, and greasy items. If they find a good food source, they’ll keep coming back. Ants release pheromones alerting colony members to the location of food.
Is a Pavement Ant Problem Serious?
Pavement ants aren’t dangerous but can be a nuisance. Their colonies often have multiple queens, which can result in large infestations. If they find food in your kitchen, they can contaminate it when walking on it. These ants aren’t aggressive. Though they can sting, it’s unlikely they will unless they feel threatened.
How Do You Prevent Pavement Ants?
Your best line of defense against pavement ants is to prevent their arrival. Eliminating potential attractants can help keep ants away. Check out a few tips to prevent an ant infestation.
- Remove potential food sources. Keep your counters and floors clean and free of spills and crumbs. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.
- Keep trash tightly sealed and remove it daily.
- Eliminate standing water in your home. Repair or replace leaky pipes and faucets.
- Cut back tree branches and other plants touching the side of your home. Ants can use these as a bridge to get into your house.
- Seal cracks and crevices around your home. Pay special attention to the area near the foundation of your house. Place screens over vents and fill utility entry points.
- Ensure window and door screens and weatherproofing are in good repair.
- Clear your yard of clutter. Keep firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.
How Do You Get Rid of Pavement Ants?
Sometimes pavement ants decide your space is the perfect place to settle down. When this happens, you need to find a simple and effective solution. Here are a few options to help you get rid of pavement ants.
Baits for Pavement Ants
Baits help to wipe out entire colonies of ants. They target the source of the infestation and not just the ants you see. Outdoors, place our No Spill Ant Kill bait stations or our Ant Killer Bait near foraging trails close to the nest. Worker ants will find the bait, eat it, and take some back to the colony to share with other ants. This will help to kill the colony. You can also use baits indoors in areas where ant activity has been seen. Don’t worry if you notice ants near the bait. This is a good sign that it’s working.
Sprays for Pavement Ants
Plant-based insecticide sprays can help kill the ants you see. Our Ant & Roach Killer spray kills pavement ants as well as other ant species. It also provides you with residual repellency that can help keep ants away. Sprays work well as a spot treatment when dealing with a few invading ants. To help prevent an ant problem, you can spray the perimeter of your yard and home with our Yard Bug Spray. It not only kills ants, it also has repellent properties. This residual repellency acts as a barrier helping to prevent pavement ants from getting inside. You should plan to respray every 45-60 days.
Dusts for Pavement Ants
Another solution for an ant problem is a plant-based insecticide dust. Our Spider & Insect Dust can be carefully applied to wall voids where you suspect a nest. If you can find the nest outside, you can apply dust to the entrance of the nest. When undisturbed, dusts can offer long-lasting protection.
No one wants ants moving into their home and yard. If you’re dealing with an invading ant army, we have your back! For a more environmentally and family-friendly solution, check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.