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Pavement Ants Will Forage Into Homes

By Chris Williams on April 26, 2013.

Ant colony outside house

Question

We have an ongoing problem in our house with what we were told were pavement ants. I believe these are the same ants that we see outside but we can never figure out how they’re getting in. They’re driving me nuts! Any ideas?

Answer

Pavement ants are primarily outdoor nesters but they will forage inside looking for food. It doesn’t take much of an opening to let ants inside. They sometimes will follow plumbing pipes or electrical or cable lines right into the house. Often, though, their entrance point is hidden. They can get into homes through expansion joints between the slab and foundation, through weep holes in brick, through cracks in masonry, around waste pipes and bath traps, or through subslab heating ducts.

Pavement ants usually nest outside under slabs like sidewalks, or under pavement (hence, the name), under flagstones, rocks, or logs, in masonry foundation walls, and sometimes in exposed soil. You often see their dirt small mounds in the cracks and edges of sidewalks or driveways. Pavement ants are especially troublesome in slab-on-grade construction or in homes with cement block basement walls.

In most cases, pavement ants are entering homes just to forage for food, returning to their outdoor nests. Worker ants will follow trails, as far as 30 feet, to their food source. But pavement ants do sometimes nest indoors (often near a source of heat) in walls, insulation, under floors, under bath tubs, and in crevices in woodwork. Since you haven’t been able to find a place where they’re getting in, it’s possible that the nest is inside in a wall void or in some other hidden place.

Pavement ants will feed on a variety of foods, including insects, fruits, and both sweet and greasy “people food.” One of their favorite foods is pet food and they will find it both outdoors and indoors. They also feed on “honeydew” which is a sugary substance excreted by aphids and other plant-feeding insects. If you have plants around the foundation of your home that are infested with aphids, you may see ants on the plants as well. The ants actually tend and protect the aphids in exchange for the honeydew they provide. If they lose their honeydew supply, ants may forage indoors instead.

Your best bet is to contact a professional pest control company for a thorough ant inspection. Give Colonial a call. Our trained technicians can determine whether the ants are nesting outside or inside. In either case, our professional ant baiting program is guaranteed to rid your home of those annoying pavement ants. In the meantime, do whatever you can to remove ant food sources indoors. Wipe up, sweep up, and pick up any people or pet food that can attract ants.

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