How to Get Rid of Swarming Pavement Ants
Ants are one of the most abundant creatures on the planet, with over 12,000 different species. One of these is pavement ants which live in colonies that can be found under rocks and sidewalks. They are also very common in urban areas where they make their homes between cracks in cement foundations or pavements. Pavement ants have a wide range of behaviors depending on their environment but will always look for food sources to bring back to feed their colony members. This blog post will teach you more about this fascinating creature and how it lives!
Pavement Ant Identification
Pavement Ants are very small, ranging from 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. They are reddish-brown. Their antennae are elbowed, and their thorax has two spines on the upper side. Pavement ants’ nests typically contain thousands of ants, which build mounds up to 1/4 inch high. The mounds are long and flat, consisting of gravel, soil, and other debris.
When disturbed, pavement ants will display aggressive behavior. They can bite with their strong jaws but are unlikely to do so unless threatened or provoked. Pavement ants are not known to sting people either, although they may produce formic acid if crushed against the skin.
Pavement ants require a moist environment for survival. Therefore, they are usually found nesting in soil under stones or pavement. They are rarely seen indoors unless they are attracted by something, such as food spillage.
Nests are located outside near the entrance of a building or at least within line of sight to it. For example, pavement ants will use cracks and gaps around windows and doors to gain entry into the building, where they will build nests in the insulation, wall voids, crawl spaces, attics, and basements.
Pavement ants are omnivorous scavengers that feed on plants, seeds, insects, and other animal proteins. They also eat honeydew from aphids or mealybugs, which is another reason why they may be found in homes.
Honeydew is a sweet liquid produced by certain insects that feed on plant sap, and it is common to find honeydew on plants and surfaces, such as houseplants or carpets. It can also run down the exterior siding of the home, where it attracts ants.
What Attracts Swarming Pavement Ants?
Pavement ants are social insects that swarm when looking for a nesting site. One of the most common pests in the United States, pavement ants, may also be known as “thatching ants” because they build their nests under thatch or stones or exposed areas in sidewalks and driveways. These insects can be found throughout North America.
Swarming pavement ants are attracted to various things, but what does seem to be universal among them is that they are attracted to food. They will swarm on anything that smells like food, including animal dung or spoiled meat. Eating fruit is also a part of what attracts them because the sticky juice on the fruit often remains even after it has been picked and dropped, which can lure some ants away from their nest for an hour or so.
Pavement ants are also attracted to warmth and moisture. They will congregate in areas where they do not have to compete with other swarms, so if one finds itself in an area that is too warm or dry, it can lead them to look for a better spot. Pavement ants are also drawn by colors like white, black, and yellow, and since those colors indicate that other pavement ants have already been there and decided that an area is good enough for a nest, it makes the swarming ants want to go there as well.
Pavement ants are also attracted to lights because they can attract insects, particularly wasps. Also, since the ants usually capture and bring back insects that they find towards their nest for their food, lights will attract these potential prey items.
Besides hanging out around lights themselves, pavement ants may also swarm on anything colored white because of the heat given off. This makes the pavement ants more of a threat to people looking for ways to repel these pests because they come into homes lit up at night by lights or street lamps, often making it much harder for homeowners to keep them away.
Pavement ants also love juicy fruit, which lures the sticky juice left behind after picking or dropping. This lures the ants away from their nest, but staying too long in one area can lead to them attacking anything nearby because they think it may be food.
How to Prevent Pavement Ants in Your House or Business
Pavement ants are common outdoor pests that breed in moist, shady, and cool areas of the home. The best way to get rid of pavement ants is to make sure you stop them from accessing your home. This means sealing cracks in the foundation with caulk or some other sealant. You should also make sure you keep windows closed and screened to prevent these ants’ access to the inside of the home.
You can also try using natural products around your homes, such as boric acid powder, peppermint oil, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, or insecticidal dust. For these products to work effectively, you will need to keep them dry, so they will need to be reapplied after heavy rains.
You may also want to try some of the following methods for getting rid of pavement ants:
-Using natural predators such as ladybugs, green lacewings, or hoverflies (which act like hummingbirds and suck up the nectar from plants). You can also use parasitic wasps to control your outdoor pavement ants population. Just sprinkle them in the areas where you find lots of ants.
-Using bait or poison. You can create a bait by mixing boric acid with jelly and putting it on a toothpick which you then place near the ants. To make sure that pets aren’t tempted to eat the baiting place where they can’t get to it or use a pet-safe poison. The ants will take the pesticide back to the colony, and other ants will also be poisoned.
Occasionally you may find some ants indoors, usually foraging ants doing their job of following scent trails left by other ants back to the colony. If you find some ants indoors, you will need to find the ant source and get rid of it by following its trail back towards the nest (usually outside) and sealing any openings along the way. Then clean up after them, use an enzymatic cleaner to wash away any residue they may have left behind.
If you can’t find the source of the ants and all attempts to get rid of them fail, then there’s likely a nest somewhere in your home. To treat it correctly, you will need to use a liquid pesticide since baits only work on foraging ants and not when they are inside. You should try asking your local pest control company since they may have a liquid product that will be effective.
In addition to sealing cracks and removing ants from your home, you should also try to address conditions outside near where you see lots of pavement ants. For example, you should remove leaf debris, woodpiles, stones/other objects that are touching your home’s foundation, etc. Unfortunately, these conditions will attract soil insects and other ants, leading to an increased number of pavement ants.
If you have trouble controlling your outdoor pavement ant population or the above methods don’t work for you, contact a pest control company to help resolve your problem.