Your pavement just might be infested if you see many small soil piles near, in, and around your concrete slab as well as your cracks. These ants create these piles as they push material out as they excavate. The colony can grow quickly and the queen can lay up to 1000 eggs in one day
They can get onto your property in a search for shelter, water and food. They feed on a large variety of foods usually eating whatever they can find. This can include live and dead insects, honey from birds, a variety of meats and they are especially partial to grease. That is why they are attracted to human food. To keep track of the food they find and to help each other find food they create trails to give direction from their nest.
Pavement ant, as the name suggests make their colonies in pavements but when creating habitats in nature the colonies are found under stones and next to buildings, if they’re desperate to find a habitat you can find them in walls, insulation and your floors.
They can enter property and households through expansion joints in slabs or crevices. These colonies are of moderate size and the ants are brown or black in colour with very thin pale legs. They are about 1/8 or 1/16 of an inch long and if examined closely you can see that they have two spines between its body parts. If the ants yo see have wings then it might be mating season, this article explores this topic more.
The flying ant variety within this species are the size of two regular-sized ants. You will notice on females that they have spines present but on males this is absent. This phenomenon occurs when it is spring and early summertime, usually when they are preparing to mate. After the mating process, the females form colonies elsewhere and the males die off having served its purpose.
These types of ants are found all along the Atlantic coastal region in the United States as well as the West Coast. You have less of a chance finding them in the southern states. You might be able to spot them at night as they are nocturnal especially foraging at night.
The colonies of pavement ants are comprised of the queen and several workers. Is it the workers who take care of the queen’s eggs as they go through the larvae stage and eventually to fully formed adults. During development, these larvae are transferred from one location to the next protecting them from temperature and moisture fluctuations. The older workers are usually the ones to defend the colony, they are also the ones responsible for the care of the larvae.
Danger to humans
These little critters are of little threat to humans personally but can create damage in your structures and properties because of their ability to displace soil and concrete objects even going as far as displacing parts of patios sidewalks and driveways. If they displace loose soil you will see it along joints and cracks in the sidewalks or driveways
Pavement ants are more of an irritation and nuisance than a danger to humans directly, if you look closely at the ant you will see that they have a stinger but don’t be alarmed as this little stinger cannot penetrate human skin. Be warned if your skin is particularly sensitive then a bite from pavement and can cause a rash or irritation.
If they get into your house they can pose a health risk as they can carry bacteria such a salmonella. They can drag disease around from your trash and onto your surfaces, silverware, stored food and dishes spreading the disease along their way. Salmonella is a very dangerous bacteria that can cause food poisoning, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, chills, headaches, blood in stool, and diarrhoea. These symptoms can last from 2 to 7 days and in vulnerable people, it is particularly dangerous as it can cause death.
If you want to prevent a pavement ant infestation be sure to eliminate all attractants.
This can come from standing water, leaky pipes and dripping taps. They will need water if nesting in your home, prevent this by eliminating opportunities.
Climbing into your home:
Prevent them from entering your home by cutting tree branches and other plants thus ensuring that they do not touch the side of your house. This eliminates the possibility for a bridge for the pavement ants to enter
Seal it up:
If you have any openings or cracks in your house be sure to seal them up preventing ants from entering through the cracks.
Keep wood away:
These ants sometimes make the colonies in pieces of debris and wood, do not store this near your house. Be sure to keep wood 20 feet away from the entrances of the house
Keep food unreachable:
Ensure that they have no reason to enter your house by making sure that you clean up spills, wipe away any crumbs and put away all food items in your house in sealed containers.
Why do these ants fight?
You might see a couple of colonies fighting to the death against each other along pavements. This occurs during the late spring and summer, the pavement ants are in search of new areas to create colonies. This sometimes results in pavement ants fighting neighbouring colonies. This onslaught can lead to thousands of ants being dead after the battle. They have an aggressive nature especially at this time and colonize areas out of their territory, they can spend sometimes a couple of days of fighting. The weaker colonies will die out or be forced to inhabit smaller areas which will better accommodate their numbers.
In some occasions these fights can end up inside your house, this is a very undesirable situation as the fighting can happen for days. If you want to combat this you can apply carbon dioxide thus anaesthetizing them. When they finally come back to their senses and wake up they will not fight any more, you can sweep them outside or apply a product to kill them
In order to get rid of them you need to be aware of where they frequent and where they create colonies. Be sure to look underneath brick patios, around foundations, and under large rocks
Be sure to also look inside the house as they can hide along plumbing, void walls, in instillation, around baseboards and can lay their eggs in carpets.
You can use a repellent spray to keep these pesky critters away. Repellent such as cypher wasp or demon WP will get the job done. Be sure to not only kill the couple that you see, pest control will only work if you kill the whole ant colony including the queen. If this doesn’t happen they will just be stressed and they can break up the large colony creating multiple colonies.
If you decide to use a bait then this is a great decision as it is quite effective. The ants bring the bait that you layout straight to the colony for all to feed.
It’s best to use a very sweet smelling and tasting bait such as terro. If you prefer you can opt for protein or grease-based bait. In all cases be sure that the bait you use is slow acting so it has enough time to reach the colony and be eaten by all before it starts its assault and kills the ants.
These are effective as they mimic the food that ants usually eat such as nectar or honey and protein such as meats. If you so desire you can use both so the ants have a higher chance of taking it as it has options.
If you will like to bait the ants be sure to keep the bait close to colonies to prevent them from creating trails into your house.
Be sure to read all instructions of the insecticide or pesticide thoroughly. If its misapplied the product might only affect a couple of insects and they will simply die leaving the colony still thriving or the ants that are left will continue the colony somewhere close by. If you want a full product guide on how to get rid of them click this link.
I recommend finding a professional to deal with your ant infestation as they can quickly asses your home and find where the pavement ants are harbouring. They know the specific types of ways to kill the infestations from the root and know what to do to prevent the infestation from coming back.
If you enjoyed this article, found it helpful or think someone else would find it helpful please share it. I would really appreciate it.