Like other ants, this species has a narrow waist and bent (folded) antennae. Its length is intermediate (2.5 to 3 mm) between that of carpenter ants and pharaoh ants, and it can resemble several other ants. Pavement ants need to be examined at a higher magnification to detect their distinguishing criteria such as three large segments at the end of their antennae. When we take a closer look at them, we can also see many small grooves sculpted into the head and front of the insect’s body.
These ants live in colonies. They nest outdoors, most often in cracks in sidewalks and parking lots, between paving stones and around patios, where small mounds of earth excavated by the ants while digging their tunnels can be seen. Their nests can also be found under rocks, pieces of wood, or mulch material. They occasionally attack strawberries and other crops by eating the roots of the young plants. They are more active at night and feed on fatty substances, seeds, and insects or their remains. The queen lays eggs that eventually become adults. The workers maintain and defend the nest and care for the young. Winged reproductive individuals are usually seen outside the nest in spring or other times, in heated areas. This swarming occasionally lasts for several weeks.
Places where they can be found in the home
Pavement ants can also find their way into your house looking for food. They can be seen on counters and around the trash can. When their nest is located indoors, it can be found in a crack near a radiator or source of heat, or in the foundation.
Plants and trees located close to our houses often act as a host for the aphids. Their sap contains more sugar than the compounds these insects normally seek. This is why the aphids ingest large amounts of sap and discharge the additional sugars anally. The sticky and sugary substance which also contains proteins is called honeydew. It is highly esteemed by ants and bees, among others. Some ants protect the aphids from their enemies symbiotically to benefit from the honeydew. Since aphid numbers can increase explosively, they must first be controlled if we want to reduce the presence of ants in the surrounding areas.
Unlike sand, a base of stone beneath the pavement would not be good for the ants.
To prevent these ants from entering the house, make sure there are no small cracks or holes to allow them access, and that no food or waste is within their reach.
The nest, which is often located outdoors, must be found and destroyed. Careful observation of ant movements will often provide clues. A vacuum cleaner can be used to remove any ants that manage to get into the house. A chemical that will be carried back to the nest and shared with the other occupants can also be applied. Light traps are sometimes employed to capture swarming winged individuals.
In North America, we often associate the presence of insects with a lack of cleanliness, and might therefore think that any ants trespassing on our property are harmful. But there are only about ten species that can be considered harmful throughout Canada, while in Quebec alone there are over one hundred species of ants. Most of them are beneficial, since they aerate the soil and mix in mineral elements that are then available to nourish plants.