Pavement Ants

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Tetramorium caespitum


What do they look like?
pavement ant illustration
  • Color: Pavement ants are light brown to black with appendages lighter than rest of the body.
  • Size: They are about 2.5 to 3 mm long, with parallel lines on head and thorax.
  • Antennae: They have 12-segmented antennae with a three-segmented club.

How Did I Get Pavement Ants?

Underneath and beside sidewalks, patios and driveways are ideal habitats for these pests. Because they live near homes, pavement ants often make their way inside looking for food sources such as sweets, proteins and dead insects. While cracks in foundations, basement floors and walls, plus concrete slabs may let them indoors initially, the crumbs, trash, and open food containers they find encourage them to return and become a pest problem. Pavement ants like to feed on leftover pet food either inside or outside the home.

How Serious Are Pavement Ants?

In yards, pavement ant colonies live deep under the soil, making control hard for homeowners. Large numbers of these pests around kitchens or lawns can be a nuisance, especially during mating swarms. The ants will sting if provoked, but are usually very docile and unlikely to sting.

How Do You Get Rid of Them?

What Orkin Does

The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage Pavement Ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping ants out of homes and buildings is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps — Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep ants in their place...out of your home, or business.

Signs of a Pavement Ant Infestation

Worker pavement ants are the most likely sign, but other indicators can be small piles of excavated materials or even the swarmers.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Pavement ants invade buildings while foraging for food. Nests are outdoors under stones, along curbs or in cracks of pavement. They can nest indoors in walls and under floors.

Do Pavement Ants Bite?

Pavement ants don’t bite, although they do possess the ability to sting. Pavement ants are docile and not aggressive, preferring to avoid confrontation rather than stinging to defend themselves.

What do they eat?

Pavement ants will feed on a wide variety of foods, including meats, grease, live and dead insects, seeds and honeydew from aphids. They prefer to eat greasy foods, and can eat many foods consumed by humans. They forage for food for their colonies and set up trails to food sources from their nests. Pavement ant workers enter houses to forage and can become a nuisance when large groups infest a kitchen or garden patio. They can sting and bite.

Where do they nest?

These ants are found throughout the United States and are major pests in the Midwest. Pavement ants earned their name because they nest in cracks in driveways and under sidewalks, piling the resulting dirt in a mound on top of the pavement.

Pavement ants also dwell in the undersides of logs, bricks, stones, patio blocks and boards. Pavement ants may also nest under mulching or open soil close to building foundations. They also can nest indoors, such as under floors, inside insulation and within walls.

The nests of pavement ants are difficult to locate, so the most efficient way to manage an infestation is to contact a pest control professional.

Reproduction & Life Cycle

Pavement ants undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval and pupal stages before becoming mature adults.

Reproduction occurs when winged males and females swarm, often in June and July. After mating, the females search out a new nesting site and become the queen for a new colony.


A typical colony of pavement ants includes multiple queens and numerous workers. A queen establishes a new colony of pavement ants by laying eggs. Pavement worker ants then tend the queen’s brood until they develop into adults. During their development, broods are transferred from location to location to protect them from fluctuations in moisture and temperature.

More Information:

Winged Pavement Ant Indoors