Thoughts on Spring Training and Pavement Ants!
By Chris Williams on February 11, 2011.
Football season is over, but the really great news for all of you out there who are ‘winter weary’ is that Red Sox pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training. Let the grapefruit league baseball season begin! Now, the folks in Punxsutawney may have their groundhog to help them predict winter’s demise, but I’ve got pavement ants showing up now to tell me spring is just around the corner. I serviced a modified barn for a client today (Feb 9, 2011) that had pavement ants crawling out of just about every expansion joint in its slab foundation. The ants had also migrated to the second floor living space of the building as well. Both worker ants and reproductive ants (swarmers) were observed. So what exactly is a ‘pavement ant’ anyway? Its’ scientific name is Tetramorium caespitum (L) and it is a non-native species that was probably introduced to the US in shipping vessels from Europe during the colonial era. It is thought that ants were carried in the soil used for ballast in these cargo ships which was removed and dumped once the ships had reached their US port.
Pavement ant workers are 1/8-inch long, (reproductive ants are about twice that size) and reddish brown with distinct grooves on the head and thorax. This ant has two nodes*, and a stinger on the end of the third segment (abdomen). It is generally slow moving, and will form strong trails to food sources. Pavement ant colonies are found mostly under (surprise!) various types of manmade paved surfaces like walkways, building foundations, or under natural stones. While it is simply too cold during the winter months for pavement ants to be foraging outdoors for food, the foundation slab of the building I treated today had radiant heat giving them nice stabile conditions to keep them active all year long. Interestingly, she (the client) has never seen them foraging inside during the warmer months. She first noticed little sand piles appearing around a doorframe and other cracks in the foundation. This is a signature behavior of pavement ants as they deposit sand and other debris that they’ve excavated from their nest. Good control of pavement ants can be accomplished through the use of professional baits, residual sprays, or a combination of both. Call the ant pros at Colonial Pest Control first!