How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants

They may sound like an outdoor problem, but pavement ants can also be a nuisance indoors. Here’s what to do.

Pavement ants are household-infesting ants that were likely carried over from Europe on 18th-century merchant ships. Since then, these pests have made their way across the country, forming huge colonies, each ranging in size from 3,000 to 10,000 ants.

What Pavement Ants Look Like

While it may seem like an ant is ant is an ant, pavement ants are distinctive in their appearance. They're typically brown, though their bodies can vary in color from reddish-brown to dark brown to black. They're also tiny—only about ⅛ of an inch long (about ⅛ the length of a standard paperclip).

If you had a magnifying glass, you would see these telltale signs of a pavement ant:

  • Pair of nodes on its thorax (the part between the head and the abdomen).
  • Parallel lines or furrows running across both the head and thorax.
  • Two-segment pedicel (the part connecting the thorax and the abdomen).
  • Stinger on its last segment. (Luckily, the stinger isn't strong enough to harm humans).
  • Swarmer ants, which have the job of reproducing, are twice the size of worker ants and have wings.

Where You'll Find Pavement Ants

Naturally, pavement ants love to congregate in and around outdoor paved areas like sidewalks, driveways, and concrete. But they're indoor invaders, too, that find their way into your home through cracks and crevices in concrete, like foundations, concrete slabs, and door jams.

Pavement ants are attracted to warmth and love moisture. If you have these ants, you'll likely find them in these areas of your home.

  • High-humidity areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms. 
  • Near heat sources such as walls and insulation located along hot water lines.
  • On the floor around exterior doors.
  • Anywhere food spills are found, such as kitchen countertops, trash cans, and pantries.

The main things pavement ants are looking for inside are food sources, especially those containing protein and/or sugar, such as nuts, cheese, honey, jam, cookies, bread, and crackers. They will also consume grease, pollen, plant juices, pet food, garbage, and even other insects.

How to Kill Pavement Ants

Indoors, the best way to get rid of pavement ants is to find and kill the queen. To do that, set out at least one Ortho® Liquid Ant Bait station near where you've spotted the ants in your home (read the directions first). Ants enter the easy-to-set trap, take the bait, and share it with others, killing both queen and colony.

Outdoors, if you see nests in your lawn or landscape, spray them with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape Ready-to-Spray according to package directions. One treatment will give you protection for up to 3 months.

Prevent Pavement Ant Problems

Create an Ant-Blocking Barrier

Stop pavement ants from coming inside in the first place by treating your home's perimeter indoor and out with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Indoor and Perimeter2 with Comfort Wand®, making sure to follow all label directions. This creates an invisible bug barrier to help keep ants and other listed insects out of your home. When applied on non-porous indoor surfaces, it protects for up to 12 months.

Seal Entry Points

Seal up cracks and gaps where ants can enter, such as windows, doors, and openings near hot water heaters and air conditioners. As an extra precaution, spot-treat sealed up cracks and crevices with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Indoor and Perimeter2 with Comfort Wand®.

Prevent Excess Moisture around Your Home

Reduce the moisture that attracts pavement ants in the first place. Inspect your home's exterior and make sure to unclog gutters, redirect water from downspouts, and rake soil away from foundation walls. Now that you know how to get rid of pavement ants, learn how to identify and control other types of ants.