Pavement Ants, which usually make their homes in pavements, are small (1/8–1/16-inch long). They are black-brown ants, with paler legs and antennae. The abdomen is all black. They are distinguished by two spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, and grooves on the head and thorax. The colonies can be moderately large. Swarmers usually appear in June or July; however, they have been reported at other times of the year.
The Pavement Ant diet consists of honeydew, insects, sweets, fruit, and greasy foods. They will also eat pet foods.
The Pavement Ant is found throughout the Atlantic coastal region, in the mid-western United States, and the West Coast. Sometimes they can also be found in the southern United States. As their name indicates, nests are found outside under cracks of pavement, under stones, and next to buildings. Occasionally they may be found in walls, under floors, and in insulation. If your home is a slab-on-grade construction, Pavement Ant foragers enter through cracks in slabs or other openings. They often enter buildings through expansion joints in slabs.
- They move in small motions
- Their trails are most easily spotted at night
- Look at plumbing pipes and electrical wires for their trails
- During the spring, are highly aggressive against other Ants
Pavement Ant Identification
- Workers: Small, light to dark brown; about 1/8th inch
- Workers: Linear marks on head and dorsal area
- 2 nodes
- Antennae: Looking closely, you will see 12 segments on antennae
- One pair of spines on thorax
Picture Credit: Nebraska Extension
Pavement Ant Inspection to Locate Trails or Colonies
- In order to properly bait with the recommended ant baits, it is necessary to put the bait out near their colonies or trails.
- Although you may observe these Pavement Ants trailing during the day, most observation will occur at night.
- Pavement Ants will displace soil around concrete objects such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, curbs, etc. This displaced loose soil may be seen along the cracks or joints in the sidewalks or driveways.
- Look for colonies around the foundations of your home and underneath brick patios. Also inspect aroundlogs or large rocks.
- Inside, look around baseboards, plumbing, sinks, toilets, and along the edges of carpets. They also may be found in the insulation of attics and wall voids.
- Foraging Pavement ants that are foraging are active near door frames and on the floor. During the warming spring months, winged females and males are swarming inside and become trapped near a window, near the sunlight.
How To Prevent Pavement Ants
- Make sure to clean kitchen counters and kitchen floor to remove any sugar, grease or crumbs.
- As with all ant prevention, trim away any tree branches and shrubs that may be touching your home. Ants can use them as pathways to the inside of your house.
- Seal up cracks and crevices around windows, doors and the foundation of your house.
- All ants are attracted to water, so fix any leaky plumbing and remove pet bowls.
Unless you use a residual non-repellent spray such as Taurus SC , baiting is the preferred treatment over typical residual spraying.
Typical residual repellent insecticides such as Cyper WSP or Demon WP will only kill a few and scatter the colony. Baiting is the most reliable way to eliminate the entire colony, if not choosing a non-repellent spray. When choosing ant baits, it is best to choose from both the sugar-based baits and protein/grease-based baits. If using a spray, choose a non-repellent type, unless you limit your treatment to simply drenching the mounds.
Why Bait for Ant Control ?
The use of residual sprays or dusts stress ant colonies, causing them to split into sub-colonies and scatter. This scattering, also called budding, multiplies the number of ant colonies, and thereby multiplies your ant problem.
When you bait, use a slow-acting bait. Quick-kill insecticides and baits will only kill the foraging ants, not allowing those worker ants to take the bait back home to feed the queen, nest workers, and brood.
If the ant bait that you are currently using is not effective (if the Ants are not visiting the bait) you will need to change the baits. Slow-acting baits provide a variety of the foods the Ants find in nature. Examples are: other insects (proteins/grease-based baits), nectar, aphid honeydew, and plant products (sugar and carbohydrates found in sweet-based baits).
Choosing a bait requires an understanding of the nutritional needs of the colony. To be sure that you have all the baiting needs met, you may want to be ready with a sugar/carbohydrate-based bait, a grease/fat-based bait, and a protein-based bait.
IMPORTANT NOTE: REMOVE ALL OTHER FOOD COMPETITION WHEN BAITING AND LEAVE THE BAIT ALONE ONCE THE ANTS START FEEDING ON IT.
Recommended Pavement Ant Baits
(Sweet and Protein/Grease Feeding Cycles)
When in doubt of which one to choose, choose one from each category.
- Top recommendations from the protein/grease category: Advion Ant Bait Arena, Maxforce Compete or Invict Xpress (Outside and Inside)
- To recommendations from the sweet feeding category: Advion Ant Bait Gel or Optigard Ant Bait Gel.
Protein /Grease feeding cycles
Sweet Feeding Cycles
Combine protein and sweet baits for savings !
Advion Ant Bait Kit
Non-Repellents For Outside and Inside Pavement Ant ControlTaurus SC. FUSE or Dominion 2L
Perimeter Spraying: If you want to stop the ants from coming inside, it is best to stop them with a perimeter residual non-repellent spray. Top recommendations would be Taurus SC (Fipronil 9.1%) or FUSE (Fipronil 6.6% + Imidacloprid 21.4%) on the outside and around the perimeter of your home. Usually spraying the perimeter is enough treatment for Pavement Ants if they are inside, as they will go outside. If you need any insecticide inside, use Phantom Aerosol in cracks and crevices in the inside areas.
Perimeter and Yard Spraying: If you need to spray the general outside, Dominon 2L (Imidacloprid 21.4% ) is another non-repellent that is not limited to just perimeter spraying, but may be applied on the yard and bushes. If mounds are found, Dominion 2L may be mixed as a drenching solution in a bucket and poured into the mound. Mix about 1/2 oz per gallon of water and use enough volume of water to drench the mound. For general spraying use 1/2 oz.and spray yard and shrubs.
- If you just need perimeter spraying, Taurus SC or FUSE with Fipronil would be the top recommendation, but they do not have a label to spray on the grounds. Use Dominion 2L if you need additional coverage on the ground or mounds.
- Non-Repellent insecticides are best for ants and termites because these insects can not detect it and will not try to escape the insecticide. Non-repellent insecticides can't be smelled, tasted, or even felt by Pavement Ants.
- Another advantage of using a nonrepellent insecticide such as Taurus, Fuse, Dominon 2L or Phantom for Pavement Ant Control, is that you can use ant baits near it. Repellent insecticides do not combine well with insect baits because they contaminate the lures inside the baits; that is not the case with non-repellents.