Pavement ants are abundant throughout the eastern half of the US, and a small number of states west of the Mississippi River. These ants establish nests around and below pavement, including concrete slabs connected to the foundation of homes, and their nests may or may not be surrounded by craters in the soil. Pavement ants are also able to establish nests within hard-to-access areas in homes, such as wall voids, insulation, and beneath flooring, but they are most frequently found in or around the lower masonry walls of foundations.
In much of the eastern US, including Massachusetts, pavement ants are considered by pest control professionals to be one of the most significant of household ant pests, due to their habit of nesting below and around concrete, which puts them in close proximity to homes, as well as for their tendency to consume and contaminate human food items.
Pavement ant workers, which forage in open indoor areas, and are therefore easily noticed by residents, are 3 to 4 mm in length and their bodies are light to dark brown or black in color with light colored legs and antennae. Their head and thorax is covered in parallel lines and their entire body is covered in stiff hairs, but these features are rarely noticed unless the ants are magnified.
Within homes, pavement ants are notorious for eating a variety of foods, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese. Pavement ant infestations can become difficult to manage even when the pests do not establish indoor nests. For example, pavement ant workers travel more than 30 feet in search of food sources, and they often climb masonry walls in order to access the interior of homes. Since pavement ants contaminate food, stored food items in pantries should be thoroughly inspected by residents living within infested homes, and all contaminated food items should be discarded.
Have you ever discovered little black ants in your pantry or cupboards?