Pavement ants are aptly named for their habit of nesting beneath sidewalks, driveways and other forms of pavement. Not only are pavement ants the most common ant pest species within Massachusetts, but some sources claim that this ant species is the most commonly addressed ant pest by pest controllers in the entire United States. Although these ants have become abundant pests within and near homes in the US, the pavement ant is not native to North America; instead, the red pavement ant species hails from Europe. Not only can these ants become a nuisance to homeowners, but unlike many ant species that are commonly spotted on sidewalks, people often make a point to walk around large gatherings of pavement ants that lie in their path. This is due to the pavement ants aggressive tendency to crawl up people’s legs where they can inflict bites in retaliation for being stepped on. While pavement ant bites are neither venomous or a source of insect-borne disease, their pinching mouthparts have been reported as being painful.

Pavement ants are constantly searching for food sources and colonies will not hesitate to chase food that is dropped on the ground by humans. Most ant species prefer sweet tasting foods, such as nectar, sweet foods and plain sugar, and pavement ants are no exception. However, unlike most other ant species, pavement ants consume any type of human food source, and this may be the biggest factor in their habit of invading homes. If a pavement ant scout locates a food source, the rest of the colony immediately follows. When a scout locates a food source within a home or building, an entire colony quickly follows, leading to heavy and frequent household infestations. The ants small bodies along with their enormous colony size makes infestations within a home particularly difficult to control. But sealing cracks around a home’s foundation, and especially keeping indoor food sources sealed away will go a long way in preventing pavement ant infestations.

Have you ever sustained a pavement ant bite?