Pavement ants are one of the most common indoor pests found in New England. This species was introduced from Europe hundreds of years ago and are now common along the East Coast where they nest under rocks and under sidewalks. When these small dark brown ants invade buildings, they often locate their nests below the foundation. These small ants enter the building by climbing up through minor cracks in the foundation, often entering gaps next to door frames and floor-wall junctions. Pavement ants devour scavenged insects and collect food crumbs commonly found in corners in kitchens and in eating rooms. These ants wander around the inside of the house and recruit large numbers of workers when they find sweets. Pavement ants arouse concern when worker ants or winged swarmers are discovered inside and the first thing people usually ask is How do I get rid of them?
Interesting Pavement Ant Facts :
*Pavement ant colonies located too close to each other may attack each other by the thousands on the surface of sidewalks.
*These ants often attack subterranean termites.
*Pavement ant workers recruit quickly to food on the floor and are thus highly vulnerable to elimination by baits.
It is important to identify your ants. Collect a few specimens on scotch tape or in vials (learn how) and send them (dead) in an envelope to your local university or extension office for identification. Worker pavement ants are small, less than 1/8 inch and often numerous inside a home. With a small hand lens you may be able to see a series of parallel lines runing vertically on the surface of the head. Pavement ant queens and males may swarm inside. Foraging ants are usually active on the floor more often than on counters and shelves. During warmer days a number of winged ants may swarm inside and they are usually trapped near a window as they try to escape towards the sun. When you see winged ants, you can predict that the nest is probably several years old and may have more than 3,000 workers. When termites swarm, they drop their wings immediately while pavement ants retain their wings as they look for a new nest site.
This species is found in more heavily distrubed or rural areas of coastal New England.
The pavement ant in nature occurs primarily in disturbed areas, where it nests under stones in open fields. Colonies can become quite large, numbering in the tens of thousands. A single queen produces enough eggs each day to replace any workers killed in action or dying of old age (about one year). Pavement ants have a small sting which cannot penetrate human skin and therefore cannot inflict even the slightest pain. Pavement ant colonies attacking each other on open pavement
It is not that important to locate the pavement ant nest since it is unlikely that these ants are damaging a structure in any way. Baits are very effective when fresh and properly placed, and are generally preferable to contact insecticides in most situations. Permanent solutions to large pavement ant infestations require the placement of many bait stations with enough bait to last for several weeks. Look for baits containing toxicants that are slow acting and allow time for the bait to be spread throughout the colony and especially to the queen.
Take the time to check on the bait to see if the ants are feeding. A circle of ants feeding together at a single bait station is a good sign. Do not place out large quantities of bait in a single location or the ants may try to bury the bait without feeding on it. Within one to two weeks all signs of ant activity should cease.
PROFESSIONAL PEST CONTROL SERVICES
If you prefer to use a pest control vendor, then the following guidelines should help you choose a reputable firm.
Obtain two or more estimates for control.
Are safety measures part of the pest control service? Are you provided with a material safety data sheet that indicates hazards and are you given a fact sheet on pavement ants?
If the nest is successfully eliminated there is little concern that you will need additional service such as a yearly or monthly service. Be wary of signing a contract that requires additional costs and service.
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