Pavement ants were introduced to North America from Europe during the 1700s, and today they are one of the most common indoor ant pests in the northeastern US. Since control methods differ widely between different ant species, accurately identifying the species of ant pest within homes is tremendously important. Unfortunately, pavement ants are difficult to identify due to the small size of workers, which are around 3 inches in body length. Workers are shiny and dark brown to black, and when viewed under magnification, grooves can be found on the head.
Outdoors, pavement ants nest within soil, and given their natural habit of feeding on honeydew, workers often invade homes where they gravitate to kitchens in order to locate sweet-tasting food sources. While outdoors, pavement ants build noticeable nesting mounds, and these mounds can be found indoors as well, particularly around cracks in concrete slabs and at the junction between walls and flooring. In the wild, pavement ants nest in soil beneath rocks in order to retain the warmth that radiates from rocks that are exposed to sunlight. This is why pavement ants nest beneath sidewalks, driveways, and other paved surfaces in urban and suburban areas. Pavement ants also retain warmth by nesting beneath patios, foundations, and even within insulation in wall voids and attic spaces.
Pavement ant colonies generally contain around 4,000 individuals and one queen, but colonies containing as many as 100,000 workers and multiple queens have been documented. Foraging workers follow pheromone trails to food sources, and following foraging ants both indoors and outdoors will eventually reveal the location of their nesting sites. Locating and destroying all nests associated with a pest colony is necessary to eliminate infestations, and maintaining sanitary conditions, particularly keeping floors free of food crumbs, will help to prevent infestations. In many infestation cases, pest control professionals rely on bait systems to eliminate pavement ant infestations.
Have you ever found unsightly ant mounds in your yard?