Tetramorium caespitum (Linnaeus)
Pavement Ant Elimination, Biology, Habits
Biology and Habits
Pavement Ant Description
Ant Bed Description
Pavement Ant: Foraging, Food Preferences
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Pavement Ant Description:
Pavement Ants are small pests (ranging from 1/10 to 1/16 inches in length) that can be
found in many parts of the United States, as far north as Canada and as far south as
Florida. These pests also thrive in parts of California, Mid-West and Southeastern
United States. Each individual colony contains thousands of workers, multiple queens
and is usually located at one particular site; White
Footed Ants and Carpenter Ants can have satellite
colonies or build huge nests that cover hundreds of feet.
This is a two-node ant (has two segments or nodes on its pedicel) and is dark
brown in color. Its antennae has 12 segments (which ends in a 3 segmented club) and
its thorax has one set of spines. The first physical characteristic noticed (when
viewed under a microscope or 30x lens) is the lines which seem to have been sculptured on
the ant's head. These grooves are evident on the head and thorax. (See image of ant; click on thumbnail to enlarge image.)
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Ant Bed Description: The pavement ant
earns its name well, building nests beneath and along the sides of pavement: patios,
driveways, sidewalks, foundations of homes. These pests can also be found inside of
homes (and other structures) in wall voids, beneath toilets and water heaters. They
also will readily nest in and beneath insulation in walls and attics. Outdoors, you
will see pavement ants nesting beneath mulch, landscaping, stones and logs, and also along
The ant beds usually appear as piles of misplaced soil, without a distinctive
appearance such as that of the Fireant or Allegheny Mound Ant. These loose piles of soil
occasionally will have a slight crater appearance, resembling the smaller mound of the Pyramid Ant, which always builds a small, crater-shaped mound.
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Colony Structure: Each colony of pavement
ants contains thousands of workers and multiple queens. Swarming of reproductives
can take place any time of the year but usually takes place in the Spring. These
swarmers can pose a problem, which will be discussed in Pavement Ant Elimination. If contributing
conditions (heat, humidity, etc.) are not at favorable levels, a few swarmers can be seen
in several successive days. This seemingly "endless" swarm cycle often
alarms residents and office workers alike. With colony population numbering in the
thousands, the amount of swarming reproductives can be remarkable.
Foraging, Food Preferences:
Pavement Ants are active foragers who will set up trails along baseboards,
beneath the edges of carpets, beneath toilets and other areas inside a structure.
Worker ants will also readily move to different rooms and floors via plumbing lines.
These lines not only provide a "highway" but also entry points, moisture source
and (in cold seasons) heat. The small ants feed on a variety of foods, including
grease, sweets, seeds and dead insects. Pet foods or any food dropped on the floor
will quickly covered with pavement ants. They also feed on the honeydew produced by
aphids and are an occasional pest of vegetable gardens. Aphids on ornamental plants
can be one of many sources to seek and eliminate, as mentioned in inspecting for pavement ants and pavement ant elimination.
Inspecting for Ant Beds
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Pavement ants can often be seen foraging outdoors during daylight hours,
but more ant trails can be observed after dark.
Upon initial inspection, the soil displaced by a pavement ant colony is usually quite
evident around any outdoor concrete object: curbs, driveways, sidewalks, landscaping,
brick patios, etc. In many cases, the loose soil can be seen along cracks or
expansion joints of driveways and other such objects. Their colonies can also be
found adjacent to the foundations or skirting of homes. When trying to locate all
possible outdoor colonies, use a small hand rake to gently pull back mulching materials to
expose the ants. Inspect around the edges of (and beneath, if possible) any logs or
large rocks. In a sense, leave no stone unturned. In severe infestations, a
number of objects can harbor many different pavement ant colonies. Each of these
colonies or ant beds need to be located and treated in order to kill pavement ants and to stop their migration
When inspecting for ant trails indoors, look for foraging pests along all baseboards, near
or around toilets and plumbing, and look beneath the edges of carpeting. If ant
trails are found, they will need to be treated. This will be discussed further in ant elimination.
In structures which utilize drop or false ceilings, inspect above the ceilings for workers
and swarmers. In these cases, the swarmers will often be attracted to light fixtures
in the ceiling. Another area that needs inspecting is beneath or in attic
Pavement Ant Elimination
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Before choosing a product or method for eliminating pavement ant
colonies, a thorough inspection must be made, both indoors and out. A night time
inspection will reveal more foraging ants, making your job easier. Follow any
foraging ants back to their colonies.
Colonies located in wall voids can be treated by injecting a
professional insecticide dust such as Delta Dust or Drione Dust; Delta Dust (being
water-proof) is best for killing ants which live or forage close to plumbing lines or
other areas associated with moisture.
Locate and drench all visible,
outdoor ant beds. Products containing either Cypermethrin (Cynoff, Demon, Cyper Eight, Viper) or Bifenthrin (Talstar) work best. These products can also be used in your
indoor control of pavement ants, roaches, spiders and other household pests.
| Talstar products cannot be shipped to MA, NY, NJ,
CT, VT, HI, CA, AK
cannot be shipped to
NY, NJ, CT, AK
Drione Dust cannot be shipped to AK
|Maxforce products cannot be shipped to AK
Indoors, spray baseboards or other areas with Cynoff, Demon, (Cypermethrin) or Talstar
where ant activity is noted. Keep people and pets off all treated surfaces (indoors
and outdoors) until product has been allowed to dry.