Pavement Ants

Tetramorium caespitum, or the Pavement Ant, is a species of ant introduced to the US by vessels from Europe in the 1700s to 1800s. These soil-nesting pests get their name because they invade cracked pavements in sidewalks, building slabs, and driveways. 

Pavement ants build their nests by displacing the dirt around them, forming little piles of soil around their nests. The ants form large colonies with over 10,000 workers and a reproductive queen. During nuptial flights in the early summer, winged males and females mate, find new places to nest, and build new colonies. 

Workers, including males and non-reproductive females, scavenge for food and bring it back to the nest. Although the prevalence of pavement ants in the US has been acknowledged, their severity as pests is not defined.

How To Identify Pavement Ants

The most distinctive feature that helps differentiate Tetramorium caespitum from other ants is the presence of tiny parallel furrows and ridges on the surface of their head and thorax. Other features that help differentiate them from other ants are:

Color: Pavement Ants are light-brown to black in hue.

Size: Workers are the smallest in the colony, but the ants measure around 2.75-3.2 mm, or about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch, on average.

Bodily Features: They have six legs, and their antennae have 12 segments with a three-segment club. The head and thorax are corrugated with longitudinal, parallel ridges. The pedicel connecting the thorax and abdomen is divided into two segments, and the posterior/dorsal thorax boasts two spines raised upwards towards the rear. You’ll also find a stinger in the last abdominal segment.

Habitat: As the name suggests, pavement ants like to nest inside cracked pavements or cracked walls. You’ll find them on sidewalks, walkways, and near the house’s foundation. During colder months, they will find refuge in the insulation, under floors, or follow pipes that go into the kitchen.

Diet: Pavement ants will eat almost everything from insects, honeydew, plant sap, nectar, and seeds. For household items, you’ll find them gravitating towards sweet and fatty items like honey, cheese, nuts, meats, and bread.

Are Pavement Ants Dangerous

Despite having a stinger in their rear abdominal segment, Pavement Ants are docile creatures and will not use the sting unless they feel threatened. More importantly, the creatures don’t pose any public health risk, and they’re not known to cause any structural damage. However, the creatures can contaminate your food if they find it open. They’re also a nuisance and can cause you lots of stress when you find them inside your home!

Preventing and Controlling Pavement Ants

Pavement ants don’t live indoors, and the only thing that would bring them into your house is food. Therefore, the most prudent way to prevent an infestation is by ensuring that your food is secured in airtight jars and put away. Avoid leaving food spills, dirty utensils, or any other food source in your home, and make sure that all cracks and crevices are completely sealed.

If you discover that pavement ants are nesting inside your compound, it’s crucial that you seek professional help since exterminating and controlling these creatures requires a coordinated effort. With the help of experienced exterminators from Domain Pest Control, you can get rid of Pavement Ants for good!

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