One of the many varieties of ants is the pavement ant. This ant gets its name because it usually makes its home on or under pavement. When you see those little dirt looking mounds on the sidewalk or flushed up to the foundation of a building, those are where pavement ants hangout.The piles of dirt are actually soil particles that they have moved from their colonies, usually the colonies are nearby or under the pavement where the mound is located. Pavement ants will make their colonies under things like sidewalks, building slabs, large rocks, wood, and or boards. Lawns and anywhere water might be are also popular spots for pavement ant colonies. As the pavement ants build their colonies they can become very territorial of them and during the spring there are often ant wars over territory on the sidewalks where they reside.
These pavement ants that go to war seem pretty scary, but for the most part they usually don’t bother people unless people bother them – for instance, destroying their mound on the sidewalk. Don’t forget ant bites are never fun to get.Pavement ants are dark brown to black in color and are small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long. Their body parts help distinguish that they are pavement ants too. They have an uneven thorax with 1 pair of spines, grooves on the thorax and head, and two pedicels that connect the thorax and abdomen. These traits are hard to see on such tiny insects, but are visible once you get up close. Another trait is that some of the pavement ants have wings. Like other ants, there are the workers, swarmers and Queen. In the pavement variety of ants the swarmers have wings, and are twice as large as the workers.
The swarmers are also the reproducers. They mate with the Queens who will bury her eggs in soil. Often the soil is the location for the new colony that this group of workers will help start. The swarmer’s only job is to mate with the Queen, and reproduction is at its highest in spring and summer. As the eggs hatch and the ants develop, they will spend that time about two to three months, tending to the Queen of their colony. Once the workers develop into adults they will continue helping the colony. One very important thing for workers to do is to get food.
The pavement worker ants leave the colony to find food. They will eat pretty much anything they can find, although they prefer things like greasy food, sweets, fruits, and insects — dead or alive. As they leave the colony in search of food, ants leave a trail behind them in order to know where to go back for more food and how to get back to the colony. Their journey in search of food can take the pavement ant up to 30 feet away from the colony. If there is a home, office, or restaurant within that 30 feet radius, the pavement ants may make their way into them to find a meal. This is usually the ant that people find in their kitchens, and so on. The pavement ant will really only go inside to find food, otherwise it stays outside.
Although depending on the location of the colony there are rare occasions that the pavement ants will migrate into homes for heat during the winter. If this does occur, the pavement ants will reside within walls, under floors, or inside insulation. So homeowners won’t really see that they are there, until they come out looking for food. This can become a problem as the pavement ants can contaminate the food with their waste. If you see pavement ants inside your home — no matter what season — call your local pest control company to get rid of the ants.
Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org