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Pavement Ants. How to Stop this Common Nuisance.

Updated on: April 25, 2023

Pavement ants are prevalent throughout the United States, and here in New Jersey, they are one of the most common complaints we receive requiring pest control services. These ants are native to Europe and were introduced to the United States several hundred years ago. One Interesting fact about pavement ants includes the large battles between neighboring ant colonies on the sidewalk in the spring and the potential for a single nest to contain as many as 10,000 workers.

Pavement ants typically build their nests in the soil but can also nest in cracks and crevices in pavement and other hard surfaces. Very often, they build their nests along the sides of garages and houses and houses constructed on concrete slabs and usually make their nests under the pavement. 

Like any ant species, pavement ants become a nuisance when they enter homes searching for food, such as termites, other insects, sugar, or protein-based ingredients. The scientific name for these ants is Tetremorium caespitum, but they are typically referred to as pavement ants or sugar ants. They are the small, reddish-brown ants commonly seen along pavement and sidewalks and are known to feed on greasy and sweet foods. 

The worker pavement ants are uniformly tiny, about 3mm long, and have a dark brown to black color. Pavement ants forage predominantly at night, although they may also forage during the day in early spring and summer. They are attracted to peanut butter-based baits and lay a chemical trail from the food source back to the nest.

Several measures can be taken to control pavement ants, including grading soil away from wood in direct contact with the soil, checking gutters for debris, and using slow-acting baits that contain toxicants and allow time for the bait to be spread throughout the colony and to the queen.

The most crucial step in controlling pavement ants is locating their nests. This can be challenging, as pavement ants can nest in a variety of locations, including soil, pavement cracks, and inside walls. Professional pest control companies can use various methods to locate and eliminate these nests, such as baits, sprays, and dust.

Ants can build nests just about anywhere, but some typical nesting spots include:

  1. Inside walls or foundations: Some ants, like carpenter ants, prefer to build their nests in wood, which makes the walls and foundations of buildings an attractive location.
  2. Underneath floors or pavement: Ants can create extensive networks of tunnels and nests underneath floors or pavement, particularly in outdoor areas like patios or sidewalks.
  3. In soil or mulch: Many species of ants build their nests in soil or mulch, particularly in landscaped areas around buildings.
  4. In trees or shrubs: Certain species of ants, such as the acrobat ant, will build their nests in trees or shrubs.

Once the nest has been located, it's possible to eliminate the ants inside using baits labeled for ant control. However, it's important to ensure that the bait is fresh and correctly placed to be effective.

Effective Methods for Getting Rid of Ants

There are several effective methods for getting rid of ants, including:

  1. Baits: Ant baits contain a slow-acting poison that the ants will carry back to their nest, eventually killing the entire colony.
  2. Sprays: Ant sprays can be used to kill ants on contact, but they may not be as effective at eliminating the entire colony.
  3. Dusts: Dusts can be applied to cracks and crevices where ants enter the building, killing them on contact and creating a barrier to prevent further entry.
  4. Professional pest control: If an ant infestation is particularly severe or difficult to control, it may be necessary to call a professional pest control company to eliminate it.


Ant populations can vary greatly depending on the species and the location. Some species, like the Argentine ant, can form massive colonies with hundreds of thousands of workers. Other species, like the odorous house ant, typically have much smaller colonies of a few hundred workers.

Situations That Invite Infestations

Ants are attracted to various food sources, so any situation that provides easy access to food can invite an infestation. Some everyday situations that can lead to ant infestations include:

  1. Crumbs or spills: Even small crumbs or spills can be enough to attract ants. Make sure to clean up spills and crumbs promptly and thoroughly.
  2. Dirty dishes: Dirty dishes left out for extended periods can also attract ants. Make sure to clean dishes promptly and store them in sealed containers.
  3. Pet food: Pet food left out overnight can be a major attractant for ants. Store pet food in sealed containers and promptly clean up any spills or crumbs.
  4. Garbage: Garbage cans that are not properly sealed can be a major attractant for ants. Make sure to keep garbage cans tightly sealed and dispose of garbage promptly.

Removing Ant Trails

Ant infestations can be challenging to eliminate because of the numbers involved and the distance between the ant colony and the active infestation inside your home. Also, ants will follow trails laid down by foraging ants to the final food source. To remove these sent trails, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water and spray areas where ants have been. Another recommendation is to use an Ammonia based cleaner to clean up the pheromone trail.

If you're located in Morris County and the surrounding area of New Jersey, you can call Permakill Exterminating with any pest control questions or needs. We are experienced in all extermination methods to control insects safely and effectively throughout the year. 


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