If you’ve noticed little portions of soil seen mostly near the edge of buildings or next to pavements, you can be sure it is the perpetration of pavement ants.
With origins which can be traced to Europe, pavements ants have taken abode in most of the homes across the United States. It is very common to see them lurking around the edges of homes and on the side of walkways.
Just as the name depicts, pavement ants are mostly found wrecking havoc around concrete slab foundations of buildings and next to pavements.
This read will provide every information there is about pavement ants and how to control them.
Due to a similar body structure with the dangerous odorous house ant also found in the United States, there is largely a confusion between which is the pavement ant and the odorous house ant.
The reason for this confusion is that both ants exist in dark brown to black colors and are about 1/8-inch long.
There is however a distinctive feature between these two, the pavement ants for example possess two nodes in the front of their abdomen and fine grooves on their head and thorax. They can also be spotted as with clusters of hairs on the end of their abdomen and two spines on their backs.
Pavement ants can easily be spotted as they always leave a trail of soil as to where their nests can be found.
They can also be considered as nocturnal insects as you will mostly find them lurking around your kitchen floor, looking for sugar, food crumbs and leftover food.
Although pavement ants did not originate in the United States, it is believed that they were transported by ships from Europe in the 1700s and 1800s.
Back in the 1700s, soil was used to provide stability for ships and after berthing, the soil was removed and dumped in the United States to free up space in the ship. This turned out to be the first distribution route for pavement ants to the United States.
These ants have since colonized most parts of the United States, and currently can be found in New England to the Mid-Atlantic, parts of California and Washington lurking around edges of buildings and pavements.
The name pavement ant was earned as it was common to always find their colonies in pavements, sidewalks, or patios. They leave a trail of soil near their nests which makes it easy to locate them.
However, apart from pavements or sidewalks, the pavement ant also makes their abode in lawns, gravel pathways and under floorboards.
In their various colonies, the pavement ants have multiple queens and large numbers of workers.
To create new colonies, the ants swarm- send winged ants twice as large as the workers to go and create new colonies elsewhere. This activity takes place throughout summer, and through fall and winter.
The new colonies begin to develop when the queen first lays eggs which takes about 2-3 months to mature. After which the matured workers begin to look for food for the colony.
Pavements ants can eat almost anything ranging from fruit, nectar, honeydew from aphids, dead insects and even plant seedlings. Your leftovers in the kitchen and pet’s food are not spared too. These ants are attracted to meats, and dairy products.
COLONIZATION OF HOUSES
As mentioned earlier, these ants build their nests around edges, slabs and the foundation of the home.
They gain access into buildings through cracks in floorboards, slabs and foundation of buildings. Their presence in the building is announced when you find piles of sand and soil close to edges, cracks in floorboards and interior slabs.
The use of insecticidal baits still remains the best method to tackle the infestation of the ants.
Note that insecticidal sprays are not completely effective as it oftentimes kills the workers who in no time are reproduced by the queen. The only way to completely rid your home from these insects is by destroying the colony and killing the queen.
Therefore, the best method to tackle an infestation is by using slow-acting insecticidal baits which the workers can feed on and take back to feed their queen.
The ability of pavement ants to eat almost anything is its bane. This gives you an advantage over what type of bait you can use to lure them. Protein or sugar-based baits filled with pesticides are best used to tackle infestation.
You can use baits containing both sugar and protein for a best result.
Examples of slow-acting insecticidal baits that can be used includes: boric acid, fipronil and hydramethylnon.
Boric acid is less toxic to humans, but very toxic to insects.
Fipronil is used to treat fleas and ticks residing in dogs and cats
Insecticidal baits should be placed close to their colonies or next to the trail of sand or soil they leave. They are more visible at night which is probably the best time to set the insecticidal bait.
For cracks in floorboards or foundations, an insecticidal bait that comes in a squeezable gel form is recommended as they can be placed directly into the point of infestation.
Controlling infestation using insecticidal baits can take about two weeks or more as it is slow-acting but very effective.
Terro brand liquid bait station is a very effective recommendation for tackling ant infestation. It contains boric acid and can be used along baseboards, underneath kitchen counters, and on windowsills.
It is available in packets containing six liquid sugar-based stations.
For gel baits, the MaxForce FC Ant Killer Bait Gel is recommended. It is available in two boxes of 0.95-ounce tubes containing fipronil.
The protein-based insecticidal bait also comes in gel and liquid bait stations.
For protein-based gel baits, the Combat Ant Killing Gel available in 27-0unce syringe applicators containing fipronil is recommended.
For protein-based liquid baits, the Combat Max Ant Killing Bait Station available in six child-resistant stations, useful for both indoor and outdoor use is recommended.
AN INVASIVE BUT CONTROLLABLE INSECT
Pavement ants although invasive are controllable. They can be easily spotted in the trail of sand or soil they leave on their path.
They gain access to buildings through cracks and openings in floor boards, interior slabs and foundation, and can eat almost anything. This can be used as a bait to control their infestation.
If you have encountered and conquered a pavement ant infestation, share with us the methods that worked for you.