Pavement Ant Behavior
Pavement ants prefer shallow, temporary nests, typically based around sidewalks, foundations, concrete slabs, and driveways. Pavement ants will also nest under stones, in masonry, and in rotting wood. They move their colony frequently, especially with a change in temperature. As winter sets in, pavement ants will attempt to relocate indoors, seeking a heat source. They will take advantage of any small opening in order to gain entry to a structure, especially cracks in foundations, utility tunnels, and expansion joints. Pavement ants are aggressive, staging sidewalk battles for dominance with other unrelated pavement ant colonies. They have stingers, though they are not poisonous.
A single colony will begin with one queen, and as the colony grows or branches out into separate colonies, they will add additional queens. Queen pavement ants have wings, and will gravitate toward sources of light and heat. If these reproductive females are able to find a suitable structure, multiple colonies can be established in a short amount of time.
Pavement ants are scavenger / predators, and will take advantage of any available food source, whether plant-based sugar substances or protein sources. They are incredibly efficient foragers, leaving trails of pheromones to mark the path toward a food source, and after finding such a food source, they can calculate a straight-line route back to their nest. Pavement ants will eat meat, grease, sugary liquids, carbohydrates, and dead insects. They engage in mutualism (protection in exchange for by-products) with several species, including aphids.
Damage Caused by Pavement Ants
Pavement ants are considered to be a nuisance, rather than a danger, to buildings and surrounding areas. When a colony gets large, queens within that nest will begin to look for a new nesting site. In order to eliminate the nuisance and eradicate all of the colonies within a building, control measures must be taken directly against the queens. If the treatment only affects workers, the colonies will continue to survive and grow.
Preventing Pavement Ants
Because these ants can survive off a variety of foods, the best and first step toward prevention is cleanliness. Proper food storage and controlling garbage areas can help, as well as reducing clutter, eliminating standing water, and trimming plants away from the house. Sealing any cracks or sources of entry is necessary, as well as maintaining seals around windows and doors. The pavement ant population is surging, and it’s vital to prevent a problem before it begins.
Controlling and Eliminating a Pavement Ant Infestation
Pavement ants can be a frustrating pest to control. Even with ideal sanitation and prevention, their nests and colonies can be difficult to locate. While there are many products on the market for ants, not all of them are effective against pavement ants. Calling a professional is the best way to eliminate and prevent future problems with a pavement ant infestation. At Pest Control Inc, we use a variety of different treatment techniques, including surveillance, baiting, and exclusion solutions.