The pavement ant is representative of a broad group of ground nesting ants that are found throughout the northern and eastern parts of the United States. Pavement ants live in colonies with a social structure. Homes and buildings with slab-onground type construction are particularly prone in invasion by pavement ants.
What is their growth and development?
Pavement ants vary in color from red brown to blackish-brown in appearance and are from 1/8. to 1/4. in length. They have four stages of their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Six to eight weeks are required for development. The time varies because of the season of the year, the temperature, and the species. Colonies have three distinct castes: queens, kings, and workers. The only function of the queen and king is to reproduce. All of the workers are sterile females. The workers build the nest, take care of the young, and hunt for and gather food. The workers are the ones that you find invading a home looking for resources.
What do they eat?
They will eat almost any kind of food. Sweets, starches, greases, meats, fruits, and vegetables are all acceptable as food. Pavement ants needmoisture and will travel some distance to find a source.
ant mounds in soil ant mounds in soil
Where do they nest?
Pavement ants usually nest outdoors in the ground under sidewalks, driveways, in the cracks of pavement, in lawns, and near the foundation of buildings. Occasionally they will nest in walls, under floors, and in insulation. They enter a home or building through any natural opening or even the smallest crack in the slab or the foundation wall.
Why do I have them now?
Pavements ants need warmth, moisture, and a food supply for their colony to continue to grow and develop. The workers are sent out like “little trucks” to forage and gather these basic needs. Once they have gained entry into your home they will search for food and moisture. This is especially true during the winter months when cold weather limits their outside activity. When they appear on cold winter days they have probably exhausted their stored food supply in the nest and they are out looking for additional food or moisture. They will appear inside homes and buildings during the summer when the conditions outside are extreme. This might occur after very heavy rain when the ground is saturated or just the opposite, during periods of drought when the ground is dry and they need moisture.
pavement ant swarmers
Why do some of them have wings?
The winged ants or “swarmers” are the kings and queens. Researchers are not certain of the exact cause for the pavement ants to swarm out but it appears to be related to the size of the nest, the age of the nest, and perhaps the weather conditions. Most swarming occurs between May and July. Once they emerge and complete their mating, the newly fertilized queens look for a suitable spot to start a new colony. Fortunately, most of them are unsuccessful and die off.
How do you control pavements ants?