Pavement Ant (Tetramorium caespitum)
Quick Look Pest Stats
Color: Dark brown to black
Shape: Segmented; oval
Region: Throughout the U.S.
This ant’s name is derived from its preference for nesting in soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Colonies are usually easy to find due to the piles of displaced soil next to and on top of pavement. Indoors, pavement ants nest under the foundation and within hollow block foundation walls. Occasionally, a colony may carry soil up into a wall to form a nest. When piles of soil appear from under baseboards or on top of a basement or garage floor, it is a good sign that pavement ants may be present.
These black ants will eat almost anything. Pavement ants have been known to consume insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese. They forage in trails for distances of up to 30 feet and are known to climb masonry walls that enter into occupied areas.
Pavement ants are identifiable by the grooves on the head and thorax. These ants form large colonies, often containing over 10,000 workers. As with most ants, there are distinct castes: one or a few reproductive queens, and a large number of non-reproductive female workers. In early summer, winged reproductive females and males are produced. Mating occurs during nuptial flights in which winged reproductive ants leave colonies and mate in swarms. It takes 42-63 days for a fertilized egg to develop into a worker pavement ant in an established colony. Colonies of Tetramorium caespitum are usually monogynous – they are started by a single reproductive queen that carries out all reproduction for the lifetime of that colony – but they occasionally may have two, or possibly more, queens.
These black pavement ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided. If you notice pavement ants in your property, contact an ant pest control specialist.
Pests, such as pavement ants, are attracted to moisture. To prevent black pavement ants, eliminate standing water around the home. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pavement ants use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around your house. Ensure firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home because pavement ants like to build nests in stacks of wood. Indoors, clean up spills and crumbs on counter tops and kitchen floors.