Name: The Pavement Ant
Latin Name: Tetramorium caespitum
The Pavement Ant is an introduced nuisance pest species that came to Canada from Europe and has since become one of Southern Ontario’s most common ant species. Its common name comes from the fact that colonies in North America typically form nests in soil under concrete surfaces, below and between pavement slabs on sidewalks and driveways and along garages and exterior walls. Pavement ants can be quite difficult to eradicate on a given property. Due to their preferred nesting locations, colonies can be difficult to access and so, even after treatment they may appear to return year, after year, when in fact, they’d never left. In winter months pavement ants tend to establish colonies closer to heat sources, allowing them to be active all year long and making them likely home invaders.
How to identify Pavement Ants:
Pavement ants are dark-brown to black, with lighter coloured legs. They are distinguished by one pair of spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, and grooves on the head and thorax, often requiring a magnifying glass to identify with certainty.
Signs of a Pavement Ant Infestation:
The physical presence of several Pavement ants indicates a possible infestation. Sighting ants inside your home indicates that foragers have entered in search of food, or that there is a harbourage of innumerable insects already present in the structure.
Where did they come from / how did I get them?
During early spring, rival Pavement ant colonies will wage war with each other to both expand and defend their territories resulting in massive sidewalk battles, sometimes leaving thousands of ants dead. Due to this aggressive orientation, they will frequently invade and colonize seemingly impenetrable areas outside of their native range, including your home. Prone to seasonal nesting locations, during warmer months Pavement ants will colonize areas between and below pavement slabs while in the winter, they are more likely to nest indoors close to a heat source and may enter homes through small openings kitchen windows, fissures in concrete floors.
What do Pavement ants eat?
Pavement ants will forage as far as 9 m from their nests and are adaptive omnivorous feeders who eat insects, seeds, aphid honeydew, meat, dairy and an array of other sweet and greasy substances.
How Addison can help Prevent Pavement Ant Infestations in the Future:
Inspect all incoming plant and organic matter before establishing it on your property or bringing it into your home. Even if the origin of an infestation is rooted out, it is important to be stringent in your implementation of physical controls; fill cracks in building facades, and seal window frames (refit if necessary). Keep outdoor spaces dry and open to sunlight, clear debris that creates humid and moist conditions for ant colony-building, and lift firewood off the ground. Establish a perimeter clear of organic matter of at least 1ft around the structure. Shrubs and tree branches should be cut back from your home to limit access points to the structure. Inside, kitchens should be kept clear of spills and crumbs; food should be kept tightly sealed, keep organic waste in the freezer, seal moisture drips and leaks from drains and plumbing, repair cracks and fissures in floors and walls. Most ants who invade homes tend to be ‘budding’ members of larger colonies that are working to establish smaller satellite nests. It is important to inspect moist and decaying wood and wood structures like decks, porches, sheds, playsets on your property and to remove any dilapidated structures or potential harbourages.