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Pavement Ant    Tetramorium caespitum

 Size:

About 1/8-inch long.

Color:

Brown.

Behavior:

Individual pavement colonies can often be controlled using ant baits, but perimeter inspection and treatment are commonly necessary for long-term relief.

This ant's name is derived from its preference for nesting in soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Colonies are usually easy to find due to the piles of displaced soil next to and on top of pavement. Indoors, pavement ants nest under the foundation and within hollow block foundation walls. Occasionally, a colony may carry soil up into a wall to form a nest. When piles of soil appear from under baseboards or on top of a basement or garage floor, it is a good sign that pavement ants may be present

Individual pavement colonies can often be controlled using ant baits, but perimeter inspection and treatment are commonly necessary for long-term relief. Pavement ant colonies are controlled by direct treatment of nests in the soil. Where colonies are located under slabs, ant baits may be successful in controlling an infestation. If baits are unsuccessful, the slab may need to be drilled and treated underneath. These tips will help prevent a pavement ant infestation:

  • Seal cracks and holes in the exterior of the home to prevent ants and other pests from entering.
  • Keep vegetation cut away from the foundation of the home.
  • Avoid using items such as stones and landscape timbers next to the home's foundation. Pavement ants nesting under these items are likely to infest the home.
  • Keep layers of mulch in landscape beds less than two inches thick and at least 12 inches away from the foundation.

Unique Characteristics:
Pavement ants tend to move in slow, deliberate motions and are not easily disturbed. However, they have been seen during springtime fighting adjacent ant colonies, producing visible “ant wars” on sidewalks!

Control:
Pavement ants are often difficult to locate, so control is usually aimed at individual ants or groups of ants. Keep trees from touching the outside of walls, repair any water leaks, and seal any cracks or gaps in concrete and foundations to prevent indoor infestation. Make sure to wipe away any foodstuffs from counters and pet feeding areas clean, as they are attracted to pet food.

Diet:

Omnivorous. Will eat many things, but prefers greasy and sweet foods.

Reproduction:

Queen produces five to 20 eggs per day; brood develops in about 40 days; young go through three larval stages.

Pavement ants measure approximately 1/8-inch in length and have brown to black bodies, pale legs and antennae. These ants are found throughout the Eastern United States and are major pests in the Upper Midwest. Pavement ants earned their name because they nest in cracks in driveways and under sidewalks, piling the resulting dirt in a mound on top of the pavement.

Pavement Ant
Pavement Ant

Pavement ants also dwell in the undersides of logs, bricks, stones, patio blocks and boards. Pavement ants may also nest under mulching or open soil close to building foundations. They rarely nest indoors, but when pavement ants do enter buildings, they are seen under floors, inside insulation and within walls.

Pavement ants undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval and pupal stages before becoming mature adults. Unlike other ants, pavement ants mate for many days, and the period of their mating is lengthened by heat and humidity. Mating swarms can include an extremely large number of reproductives.

A typical colony of pavement ants includes multiple queens and numerous workers. A queen establishes a new colony of pavement ants by laying eggs. Pavement worker ants then tend the queen’s brood until they develop into adults. During their development, broods are transferred from location to location to protect them from fluctuations in moisture and temperature.

Pavement ants will feed on a wide variety of foods, including meats, grease, live and dead insects, seeds and honeydew from aphids. They prefer to eat greasy foods, and can eat most foods consumed by humans. They forage for food up to thirty feet from their colonies and set up trails to food sources from their nests. Pavement ant workers enter houses to forage and can become a nuisance when large groups infest a kitchen or garden patio. They are not aggressive, but they can sting and bite.

The nests of pavement ants are difficult to locate, so the most efficient way to manage an infestation is to contact a pest control professional.

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