Pavement ants are common ants we see outside in our grass, on foundation walls and, certainly, anywhere on the pavement. You may be seeing these ants in your home. Perhaps you a have seen a line of them, marching one-by-one--or in a larger "river" of ants, heading for a food source. It can be quite disturbing to come upon a potato chip or perhaps a piece of cake on your countertop, and find it completely covered in a squirming mass of tiny black ants. Quite disturbing indeed!
Identification Of Pavement Ants
Pavement ant workers measure around 2.5 to 4 mm in length and vary in color from dark brown to black. They have parallel lines on the head and thorax, and the pedicel (which connects the thorax and abdomen) has 2 segments. On their last abdominal segment, there is a stinger. Winged swarmers, that are about twice the size of their non-winged counterparts, typically swarm in the spring but have been known to emerge any time of year, if they have established themselves within a heated structure.
Most colonies of pavement ants are located under building slabs, large rocks or sidewalks. But they can enter buildings through foundation walls and interior slabs. They leave sand piles and small soil particles near cracks. They eat a wide variety of foods including sweets, nectar, fruits, syrups, grease, dead insects and small seeds. Nearly any crumb that they come upon will be eaten.
Health Concerns Homeowners May Not Know
Although mostly just a nuisance to have invading your home, their behavior and travel patterns may have them bringing harmful bacteria to your food storage areas. The ants you find in your pantry or on your countertop may have previously been crawling around in rotting garbage or inside a bacteria-laden drain pipe. And they can carry certain bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella, on their bodies or in their digestive tracts, that are potentially harmful to humans.
Although rarely aggressive, these ants can bite and sting when disturbed. In most cases, bites/stings are too weak to penetrate human skin, however, they can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people.
What Causes Pavement Ants To Invade?
When these ants have established nests close to your home, in places such as under sidewalks, patios, and driveways, they may make their way right up to your foundation, perhaps being drawn in close by food sources such as pet food bowls, leftover barbecue and the like. When this happens, and they explore around and under your home, they will make their way inside through cracks in foundations, basement floors, walls or concrete slabs. Though cracks may allow them inside, it is the food that will keep them there. Crumbs, kitchen trash cans, pet food dishes, open food containers, etc., will keep them coming back for more, and draw in other pests as well.
Some DIY Ant Prevention Tips
Look around the exterior of your home and eliminate food sources that might be drawing ants, and other pests in close to your home. Remove pet food bowls (or only put them down at feeding times). Clean up after each time you use the grill. And don't leave garbage receptacles open for pests to feed in. Dropped fruits or leftover vegetables in gardens are also an attractant for ants.
Inside your home make sure things are clean of crumbs, drinks, and other food sources that ants and other pests can thrive on.
Make sure indoor and outdoor trash cans have lids that can seal. This will keep smells in and ants out.
Examine your foundation and outer walls in search of gaps or cracks where tiny ants can squeeze through.
Using a caulking gun to seal entry points can help keep pests at bay. Pay attention to areas around pipes, wires, etc., where they enter the home.
For Severe Infestations Professional Control A Must
Keeping pests out, and getting them out once they have invaded in large numbers, are two very different things. Once ants have established themselves in nests underneath or, worse, inside your structure, it is high time to call in a professional. These ants multiply relatively quickly. Big Blue Bug Solutions not only has pest control options for "big" bugs but all those tiny ones as well. Reach out to us today with questions, or to get started on being an ant-free home. We look forward to serving you!