Pavement ants are the most common form of pests found in almost every household. They are usually not a cause of concern for anybody unless they come in a flock to have a feast in your kitchen.
Pavement ants are usually small and can be as long as 1/8 inch to 3/16 inch. They are dark brown to black in color and have light colored legs with two spines at the back of the thorax. A distinctive feature is the series of fine corresponding groves on the thorax and head, but it can only be seen with a magnifying glass or under a microscope.
Reproduction and Biology
Colonies and roadways can consist of numerous ants ranging from 10,000 to 30,000. They usually live outside under driveways, in pavement cracks, concrete slabs, leaves or stones. Every now and then, these pavement ants enter homes while in search of some food. They have usually four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. It requires 6 to 8 weeks for them to develop. The time varies depending upon the temperature, season, as well as species. Ant colonies have three different castes – kings, queens and workers. King and queen have just the responsibility to reproduce. All worker ants are sterilized females. The workers form the shell, look after the young, and seek out and collect food. These are the ants that attack your house for food.
Behavior and Diet
Pavement Ants feed on different kinds of food such as grease, meats, dead and living insects, honeydew and seeds. However, they have a preference to eat greasy food and can consume many varieties of foods that are edible for humans. They search for foods to feed their colonies and set up paths from the source of food to their nests. Although these ants are not aggressive, they can sting humans when disturbed. They are generally too weak to pierce human skin, but their bites can often cause arash or allergy.
Preventive steps are very important to maintain ant free surroundings for long time. Here are some tips that can help to repel ants.
Sanitation: Maintaining proper sanitation can be of great help in this regard. Make it a habit to regularly empty trash cans, keep dump area lid closed and clean, remove indoor and infested potted plants, clean any spilled food, store food in air tight containers.
Exclusion: Seal all holes, cracks and crevices, and all other potential sources of ant’s entry. Avoid any part of shrubs and trees to touch the roof or wall.
Water Management:Repair water fountains and leaky sinks. Increase ventilation in damp areas.
It is often easy to manage the menace of ants once you can find out their entry point, travel route and what kind of food they are searching for. Rummaging pavement ants can be effectively controlled by using baits. The worker ants transport the baited food back to their shell that, in turn, eradicates the colony. There are many varieties of baits available for the homeowners. Nevertheless, baits that contain boric acid, fipronil or hydramethylnon are quite slow to react. Place the baits in the region where activity of ants has been witnessed. Make sure that your pet and children stay away from it. You must also keep enough number of baits and replace used ones to ensure that you target the entire colony. It may take a time of two or more weeks to attain complete control.