Pavement ants, also known as concrete ants, are a nuisance and damaging pests that invade homes in spring and summer.
These ants can be hard to eliminate because they can make multiple colonies inside the house and in your yard.
So, preventing their entry and the conditions that draw pavement ants to your home are keys to averting an infestation.
In this guide, you’ll find out what attracts pavement ants to your house.
You’ll learn to eliminate the factors that draw pavement ants and hence eliminate the chances of an infestation.
And a lot more. Keep reading.
Pavement Ants – Identification
There are some unique features in pavement ants that differentiate them from other ant species in the house.
The worker ants of the pavement ants species are tiny. They grow only 0.12 inches or 3 mm in size. The carpenter ants are bigger, growing up to 0.5 inches in size.
Pavement ants’ abdomen is shiny and covered with thin hair.
Plus, some thin lines or striations run longitudinally across the head and the thorax.
There are two spines on the back and a visible stinger attached at the rear end of the abdomen. Pavement ants have 12-segmented antennae that are in the elbow shape.
The legs are light-colored, so they’re easily noticeable. However, you might need a magnifying glass to notice the rest of the features.
Pavement Ant Infestation In Outdoors
Like most ant infestations, the pavement ant infestation begins as an outdoor problem.
Outdoors, pavement ants build nests underneath the soil’s layer near the building foundations, organic debris, decaying wood pieces, trees, and pavement cracks, especially near grassy lawns.
However, you’ll find pavement ant colonies in areas where moisture levels are high.
Pavement ants will build their nests in any crack in the floor and walls, indoors and outdoors, including in your garage and basement.
A typical colony of pavement ants has multiple queens and tens of thousands of worker ants.
The queen ants lay eggs, and the purpose of the worker ants is to expand the colony and feed the ant larvae and the queen in the nests.
You can notice the pavement ant nests as little piles of mud on the surface. The displaced soil mound has a hole, an entry point for the ants.
Outdoors, pavement ants feed on dead insects, tiny pests, and the honeydew from the plants.
Infestation begins when these ants spill over from the neighbors or the winged ants land on your property.
Pavement ants swarm in June and July. They leave their old nesting sites looking for new places to build their colonies.
You’ll find these pesky insects all across the US. They’re more common on the south and west coast.
What Attracts Pavement Ants To Your Home
The presence of moisture inside the house, food sources in your kitchen, and the warmth of your home attract pavement ants.
The invasion occurs when you ignore their presence outdoors, and their population in your yard or garden spikes up.
That’s when ants and other insects move inside homes to find food and shelter.
How Pavement Ants Get Inside The House
Any thin or tiny gaps, cracks, or holes in the doors, windows, and building foundation walls are enough for pavement ants to sneak inside the house.
Pavement ants tend to invade homes in large numbers. And they move inside homes in ant trails.
Pavement ants crawl slowly as compared to other ants.
When they invade homes, you’ll notice a long trail of pavement ants crawling inside the house.
That’s the beginning of the pavement ant problem in your house.
Pavement ants aren’t typically nocturnal pests. But they feed and invade homes during the night.
Pavement ants also use tall grasses, other plants, and tree branches touching the windows, roofs, and doors as a bridge to crawl inside the house.
Bringing in wood pieces and furniture with pavement ants in them can also begin an ant problem in your house.
You’ll find out how to prevent pavement ants from invading your house later. But before that, let’s find out where pavement ants nest inside your home.
Pavement Ant Colonies Inside The House
There are five common places for pavement ants to build their entire colony inside your home –
- Wall voids
- Cracks on the floor and concrete slabs
- Near electrical wires
- Near plumbing pipes
- Inside insulation
The nesting site isn’t visible the moment you look at these places. You’ll have to inspect these places and poke them a bit to find the pavement ants hiding inside.
These insects are foragers. So, your kitchen will draw these ants because it’s from your kitchen where they’ll get their food.
Pavement ants eat greasy foods, leftover pet food, food stains, and crumbs on dirty dishes, kitchen counters, sinks, and cabinets.
They’ll also feed on other insects that are hiding inside your home.
If your kitchen floor, furniture, and wall have cracks, then pavement ants will use those gaps to build their nests.
Many ants disappear during the winter. It’s because they hibernate or overwinter in their colonies till spring arrives.
However, the pavement ants can remain active during the winter months too.
Heated buildings that provide them warmth and moisture are ideal for pavement ants to continue expanding their colonies inside the house, even during winter.
In the winter, pavement ants prefer to build their nest near the heat source, like the insulation adjacent to hot water lines, near electrical wires, and in the cracks around electrical outlets.
It’s important to prevent pavement ants from entering your house because these ant species can remain active year-round.
How To Prevent Pavement Ants From Entering Your Home
Making your yard or garden uninhabitable for pavement ants is essential for removing the pavement ant problem from your home and property.
Here’s how you can do it in six steps.
Control Dampness In Your Outdoors
Pavement ants love moisture. And one of the places where they build their colonies is on a damp surface near a moisture source.
And stagnant water in your yard increases the dampness levels of the soil and building materials. That attracts pavement ants.
So, eliminate standing water from your outdoors. Remove unnecessary containers, pots, and old tires that can hold water after the rain.
Stagnant water can also be an egg-laying place for mosquitoes. So, removing them is vital to keep biting pests and flies away from your property.
Seal Cracks And Gaps On The Walls, Windows, And Doors
The cracks on the doors, windowsills, roof, and walls are entry points for pavement ants and many bugs and pests.
So, seal those gaps.
Also, if there are any wall voids in the outdoor walls, fill them.
Cut Off Overgrown Vegetation Near Your Home’s Walls, Windows, And Roof
Pavement ants are efficient crawlers. They’ll use the vegetation touching your home’s windows and walls to get inside the house.
So, chop off redundant vegetation near the house.
Also, cut off the tree branches that are touching the roof. Else, they’ll use them to get onto your roof and sneak inside the house through roof cracks.
Maintain Cleanliness In Your Yard
Organic wastes like rotting firewood, decaying foliage, and aging mulch beds are always a magnet for bugs and pests.
Add the waste in the trash bins, and you’ve got a perfect real estate for bugs and flies to make your property their nesting grounds.
So, keep your yard and garden clean. Dispose of wastes regularly, and do not let wastes accumulate on your property.
Use Ant Granules Along Your Home’s Perimeter
Ant granules act as a chemical barrier and prevent ants and other soil-dwelling crawlies from invading your house.
You’ll need to scatter the granules along the home’s perimeter. And sprinkle water on them.
The water will make the granules sink into the soil. The presence of the granules in the soil is poisonous for bugs like ants and termites that build nests underground.
The ant granules will kill the ants that it encounters.
The best part is that granules remain active for months. So, the granules are long-term protection for your home against ants.
Maintain Cleanliness In Your House
A clean home, especially the kitchen, with the gaps and cracks sealed, is repelling for bugs.
Ensure that there are no food spills, crumbs, and stains on your kitchen floor, storage, counters, and sinks.
The food spillovers and wastes are the food sources for the pavement ants. So, removing them will help in preventing pavement ants.
Pavement ants can contaminate food. So, keep your foods, especially stored foods, and pet foods, in airtight jars and containers.
Don’t let food wastes accumulate in your kitchen trash bins. Dispose of them daily and use ant repellants like peppermint spray to keep the ants away.
Fix Leaky Pipes Inside the House
Leaky pipes underneath sinks, leaking faucets, and other water leakages increase the dampness levels in the walls and floors of the house.
Excessive moisture damages the walls and floors, which leads to the formation of cracks.
Those cracks will become the nesting site for the pavement ants.
So, control the moisture levels inside the house by fixing water leakages. Also, fix the damage to the walls and the floors.
How To Get Rid Of Pavement Ants
To control and eliminate pavement ants from your home, you’ll need to eliminate them indoors and outdoors.
Outdoors, use an ant spray to kill the pavement ants. Spray the insecticide on the pavement ants and ant mounds that you notice on the cracks of the ground and the sidewalks.
Follow it up by scattering diatomaceous earth or boric acid on the places where you noticed the pavement ants.
Indoors, use ant baits to kill pavement ants. Keep the ant baits where you’ve noticed the ant trails.
The baits will attract the ants. The worker ants will carry the baits to their colonies and feed them to the ant larvae, other worker ants, and, most importantly, the queen.
That’ll kill the entire colony!
Killing the queen and destroying the ant nest is vital to control pavement ants in the house. And an ant bait does it.
Using non-repellent insecticide sprays containing fipronil and pyriproxyfen inside the house has its limitations.
They kill the ants on contact, but they have no effect on their colonies where the queen resides.
There are other options to eliminate pavement ants inside the house. Those are DIY bait stations and ant-killing gel.
Prepare protein-based or sugar-based bait stations. You can do it by mixing boric acid with some fish, meat, or with sugar.
And keep the bait stations where you’ve noticed ants. The protein and sugar will attract the ants, and the ants will feed on them.
They’ll also carry the bait to their colonies and feed it to other ants.
But the DIY bait is a slow-acting bait. Boric acid won’t kill the ants instantly. It’ll get into their system once the ants eat it and dehydrate the ants from the inside.
Borax works on all ant species and even on termites.
Ant-killing gels are also potent enough to kill ants. Put a few drops of ant gel on the places where you’ve noticed ants.
The ant gels also act as baits, and they’re poisonous too.
And these hacks work on not only pavement ants but also other ant species.
Do Pavement Ants Bite?
Pavement ants don’t bite. Like fire ants, pavement ants sting.
But pavement ants are not aggressive stingers like fire ants. Their stings will cause some discomfort, pain, and itching.
They can sting when you try to handle them or if they get pressed against your skin.
In sensitive people, the pavement ant sting can trigger allergic reactions.
Moisture and search for food and shelter attract pavement ants. Infestation begins outdoors, and when it grows, it spreads inside the house.
This guide revealed how to eliminate the factors and the entry points to prevent pavement ants.
Also, there are tips on getting rid of pavement ants inside the home and in your yard.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.