Pavement Ant

Pavement Ant: Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name: Tetramorium caespitum

Appearance

Light brown to black with appendages lighter than rest of the body. About 1/10-inch long. Parallel lines on head and thorax with a 12-segment antennae.

Habit

Invades buildings while foraging for food throughout the year. Nests are outdoors under stones, along curbs or in cracks of pavement. Can nest indoors in walls and under floors.

Diet:

Omnivorous. Will eat many things, but prefers greasy and sweet foods.

Reproduction

Queen produces five to 20 eggs per day; brood develops in about 40 days; young go through three larval stages.

Pavement ants measure approximately 1/8-inch in length and have brown to black bodies, pale legs and antennae. These ants are found throughout the Eastern United States and are major pests in the Upper Midwest. Pavement ants earned their name because they nest in cracks in driveways and under sidewalks, piling the resulting dirt in a mound on top of the pavement.

Pavement ants also dwell in the undersides of logs, bricks, stones, patio blocks and boards. Pavement ants may also nest under mulching or open soil close to building foundations. They rarely nest indoors, but when pavement ants do enter buildings, they are seen under floors, inside insulation and within walls.

Pavement ants undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval and pupal stages before becoming mature adults. Unlike other ants, pavement ants mate for many days, and the period of their mating is lengthened by heat and humidity. Mating swarms can include an extremely large number of reproductives.

A typical colony of pavement ants includes multiple queens and numerous workers. A queen establishes a new colony of pavement ants by laying eggs. Pavement worker ants then tend the queen's brood until they develop into adults. During their development, broods are transferred from location to location to protect them from fluctuations in moisture and temperature.

Pavement ants will feed on a wide variety of foods, including meats, grease, live and dead insects, seeds and honeydew from aphids. They prefer to eat greasy foods, and can eat most foods consumed by humans. They forage for food up to thirty feet from their colonies and set up trails to food sources from their nests. Pavement ant workers enter houses to forage and can become a nuisance when large groups infest a kitchen or garden patio. They are not aggressive, but they can sting and bite.

The nests of pavement ants are difficult to locate, so the most efficient way to manage an infestation is to contact a pest control professional.