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.
|Color||Light brown to black with paler legs and antennae.|
|Size||Worker ants are about 1/8" in length, while winged, fertile workers may be twice that size. The queen is typically 1/4" in length at minimum.|
|Appearance||The body of the pavement ant consists of a head, a thorax and an abdomen. Pavement ants are identifiable by the lines or grooves present on both the head and thorax.|
Pavement ants are omnivorous insects that feed on various plants, dead and live arthropods, sugars, greasy foods, nectar, and fruit syrups. Pet bowls are also a common foraging site for pavement ants.
The ants are found in various soil types and prefer to nest in areas with little to no vegetation, making urban settings ideal. Soil nests may have a characteristic "dirt crater" around the opening. Pavement ants often follow pipes through slabs to access buildings. They enter through cracks in slabs, expansion joints and natural openings of buildings.
Colonies & Life Cycle
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.
Queens lay up to 40 eggs per day. Fertilized eggs produce either workers or other queens, while unfertilized eggs become males.
Grub-like larvae hatch from the eggs and undergo three larval instars before becoming adults.
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. Colonies average 3,000-4,000 ants.
Workers may live for up to five years, while queens generally live much longer.
Prevention & Control
To prevent a pavement ant infestation, steps must be taken to discourage the pests from entering the home in the first place.
- Exclusion: Find and seal all gaps and cracks in exterior walls to 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.
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.
Exclusion: All cracks and gaps within exterior walls that provide access to voids or interior areas should be sealed. Remove all debris from exterior of structure where nests could be formed. Baits should be placed where ant trails have been established or in locations where the ants have been sighted. Follow ant trails and locate nests - treat with residual insecticide.