Pavement Ants
Pavement ants can contaminate food and prove difficult to eliminate.


Pavement ants have become the most commonly seen ants in Bucks County and throughout the Pennsylvania area.

With nests found beneath driveways, sidewalks and patios, pavement ants like to live in close proximity to people. They are drawn into buildings thanks to garbage, crumbs, spills and containers of food that are left open on counters and tables.

Pavement ants are mainly a nuisance species. Nonetheless, they can make a mess in yards, driveways, and walkways. Getting rid of them requires the destruction of the nest, and is best accomplished with assistance from a professional ant control provider


Pavement ant workers, which are the individuals that are most likely to be seen outside the nest, are about one-quarter of an inch in length. Body color includes dark brown and black. Under magnification, it is possible to see parallel lines running the length of the thorax and head. The thorax features two upward-projecting spines, and on their abdominal segment, the worker has a stinger.

Reproductive members of the colony are approximately double the size of the workers. They have the same parallel lines on the thorax and head. In addition to size, the reproductive members are distinguished by their wings. Female reproductives have spines on their thorax like the workers but the males do not.


Pavement ants usually prefer outdoor, underground nests. This means that colonies frequently are found in pavement cracks, beneath stepping stones and in the seams between components of driveways and sidewalks. Typically, the workers are seen trailing in single file lines across sidewalks, driveways and foundations while foraging for food. The colonies may be located by the small piles of soil or sand that sit at the entrances.

While outdoor nests are common, pavement ants also may nest within human habitations. Likely nesting locations include within wall voids and beneath the surface of floors.


Pavement ants are able to survive on a widely varied diet, which is part of the reason for their success. Sugars and proteins are the staple items that they require. Collecting honeydew from aphids is a common method of obtaining food, and pavement ants also feed on nectar. Fruits and seeds are eaten when available. Dead insects are a reliable source of protein.

Many human foods are attractive to pavement ants. They like greasy food including meats as well as syrups and honey. Bread, ice cream, cheese and many other common things that people eat will be consumed. Pavement ants also enjoy pet food.


Several problems are associated with pavement ants. Of greatest concern is the species' tendency to make its way indoors to kitchens and pantries. A colony that discovers a food source will continue to exploit it until it is thoroughly depleted. Accordingly, a human kitchen is like a never-ending feast to pavement ants.

Like other ants, this species contaminates any human or pet food that it infests. These foods must not be eaten, leading to an economic loss. Moreover, the ants trail all sorts of bacteria and germs throughout the kitchen, and these must be removed.

Additionally, worker pavement ants are equipped with a stinger. Individuals typically are docile and unlikely to initiate an attack. Nonetheless, stings do occur, and they can be a bit painful.

Pavement ants further cause an unsightly mess in yards. They leave small piles of soil and sand everywhere that they dig. A particularly large colony that is placed beneath a small paving stone may make the stone unsteady and unsafe to use. Trip and fall accidents are more frequent in places where pavement ants have been at work.


Pavement ants are a social species that live in colonies consisting of thousands of individuals. Most of the members are workers, and they have the responsibility of foraging for food. When they find a food source, they create a pheromone trail that can be followed by other members of the colony.

Workers similarly are responsible for transporting other items, like dirt and eggs, between colonies. Maintaining and building the nest further are the duties of the workers but it typically is a fertile queen that selects the nesting site. Swarming reproductives emerge in the late spring and the summer to mate before the females venture out to establish a new colony.


Few medical problems are associated with pavement ants. The most common is food poisoning caused by ingesting food that has been contaminated by these pests. Most of these food poisoning cases are not serious and do not require medical treatment.

Most pavement ants are equipped with a stinger, but these are rarely used. When stings occur, the associated pain is far less than what occurs with an attack by a fire ant. Such stings typically are not a cause for concern.


Indications of a pavement ant issue include:

Lines of ants marching across a sidewalk, driveway or patio
Small piles of dirt or sand next to the pavement
Lines of ants encountered on kitchen counters and floors


To help prevent problems with pavement ants the following steps should be taken:

Only use garbage cans with lids
Routinely clean garbage cans
Do not leave food on counters or tables
Always use tight-fitting lids on food containers
Clean up spills and crumbs as soon as they occur
Keep yard debris away from foundations
Trim back vegetation so that it does not touch buildings


Effective ant control requires a thorough inspection of the building to locate all existing nests, identify the type of ant involved, locate entry points, and determine the best type of treatment.

SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC has been serving Bucks County area home and business owners with successful pest control for over 20 years. Our trusted, licensed exterminators can identify the pest and implement immediate treatment so that everyone in the home or office can regain peace of mind.

SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC.
A Division Of Newtown Termite & Pest Control, Inc.
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