How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants: A Complete Guide

Pavement ants are common household ants and are quite harmless. However, a large infestation of pavement ants can be a nuisance and they are also capable of carrying diseases in the house. These ants can live under the cracks, sidewalks, stone and concrete slabs, etc. They form large colonies and invade in your house, lawns and yards.

To prevent the invasion and large infestation of pavement ants, you should have a clear idea of what are pavement ants. Having information about their appearance, life cycle and their behavior can be very helpful to get rid of them. Therefore, this article is designed to share information and facts about the pavement ants as well as the prevention and control methods for getting rid of them.

How to get rid of pavement ants? Several methods can be used to effectively get rid of pavement ants. Different outdoor and indoor ant killer sprays and baits can be used to get rid of smaller infestations of pavements ants. For larger infestations, the best course of action is to call professional exterminators as they have the license to use stronger chemicals.

Ant Exterminators

Ant baits, sprays, and repellents can be used to personally get rid of ants and there are many commercially available products to choose from. Read the label and apply them to eradicate the ant colonies in and around your home. There are also natural methods for getting rid of pavement ants but we are going to talk about them later in the article.

Ant baits are part of the chemical methods but they are very environmentally friendly. The pavement ants will carry the bait back to their nest and the queen will ingest the poisonous bait along with workers which will eliminate the whole colony. Insecticides in the form of a powder or dust are also helpful to eliminate the pavement ant colonies but it takes longer for them to kill the ants.

First of all, the best thing is to prevent the infestations of pavement ants from happening at all, you should keep your surroundings clean and dispose of your leftovers and garbage regularly. Do not leave any cracks or holes in your house which can provide them shelter.

Before we get to our detailed instructions for getting rid of the pavement ants, first we have given you some helpful information about pavement ants that are going to help you in your fight against them. Let’s begin!

What Are Pavement Ants?

Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) is one of the most commonly found pests and some people also call them sugar ants due to their fondness for sweet foods. A general consensus is that they are of a European origin but they can also be found in different regions of the United States and all across the world.

The name pavement ant is given to them because they make their shelter underneath pavements. You will find pavement ants mounds under floors, under concrete slabs and bricks, landscaping, in driveways, in walls, near water heaters, on the trash, in insulations, etc.

• How Do Pavement Ants Look Like?

Pavement Ants have dark brown to blackish appearance, they are about 2.5 to 3 mm long. Their body consists of different segments, head, thorax and legs. Head and thorax are darker and have parallel marking whereas legs and antennae are lighter in color. The antennae on the head have 12 segments.

• How Long Do Pavement Ants Live?

The pavement ants have a caste system that consists of workers, reproductive males and winged females (queens). The workers take care of the colony and find food. Each colony has one or more than one queen.

The pavement ants mate during spring and summer. After mating, the queen lays eggs, males die and mated females shed their wings and move to a different place to start a new colony. The eggs develop into adults (workers) in 40-60 days. The workers can live up to 5 years but males used for reproducing die after a few months.

• What Do Pavement Ants Eat?

Pavement ants feed upon leftovers, dead matter (scavengers), honeydew, sugary and greasy foods, pet food, meat, grasses, seeds, insects, etc. They know the path back to their nest after the food collection and travel back in lines by maintaining discipline. When moving back to the nest, they release the scent through a stinger (at the tip of the abdomen) which helps the workers to find the food source.

Related: What Do Ants Eat? | Ant Feeding Habits

• Can Pavement Ants Damage My House?

Pavement ants do not cause any structural damage to the houses. However, large colonies of pavement ants can be very annoying and disgusting. These ants can attack your food and spoil it. The pavement ants can carry bacteria or viruses from the garbage of leftovers into your house. To avoid the potential damage, you can apply different methods to eradicate them.

Pavement Ants Bite: Are They Dangerous?

Pavement ants and their venom are not a danger for humans. They are docile in nature and are more interested in finding food for their colonies. However, they can sting if they feel threatened. Pavement ant sting can be mildly painful and cause itching. Also, in some cases even allergic reactions.

How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants: Instructions

How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants Instructions

Getting rid of ants requires time and dedication. The first step is the inspection of pavement ants in your house or outdoors. Once you confirm their identity, you can apply the following methods to get rid of them.

Method 1: Ant Baiting

One of the best ways to get rid of pavement ants infestation is the use of ant baits. Slow acting baits may take time to show the results but they very efficient. There are different types of baits available in the market such as sugar-baits, fat based baits or protein-based baits.

Dust and insecticide sprays will scatter and quickly kill the worker ants and they will not get the chance to return back to their nest. If the queen stays alive the colony will survive and eventually grow again in numbers.

When you use ant baits and successfully lure the ants, they will take the bait to their shelters and if the queen and workers feed upon it, it will result in the eradication of the entire colony.

You can also change the bait if the current bait does not show good result. The following are our recommended ant baits.

TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Bait Ant Killer

TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Killer, 12 Bait Stations
  • Attracts & Kills – Kills common household ants including...
  • Kills the Ants You See & the Ones You Don't – As worker ants...
  • Works Fast – You should see a significant decrease in the...
  • Ready to Use – Place the bait stations, watch it attract ants,...
  • Use Throughout Your Home – Place stations near areas where...

Syngenta – Optigard Ant Bait Gel Box 

Syngenta - TRTD11568 - Optigard Ant Bait Gel Box - 4 Tubes w/ Plunger - 30g each tube
  • Target pests: For indoor and outdoor control of...
  • Highly attractive formula promotes ready transfer of the active...
  • Powerful, active ingredient knocks out workers, brood and queens
  • Approved for use indoors and outdoors, applied in cracks and...
  • How does Optigard Ant Bait Gel work? Ants that feed on the gel...

Method 2: Insecticide Spray

Different indoor and outdoor insecticide sprays are used to control pavement ants. These sprays come with instructions and labels. You can follow the company guidelines for effective results. Apply the spray on all the cracks, crevices, holes and their mounds.

The following are the most recommended sprays for pavements ants and most ants in general.

TERRO Outdoor Ant Killer Spray

TERRO T1700 19 oz. Outdoor Ant Killer Spray, 1 Pack
  • Provides rapid knockdown and effective long-term control
  • Also effective against carpenter ants, carpenter bees, Asian lady...
  • Sprays 10 to 15 ft
  • Easy spray in hard-to-reach places
  • 19 oz aerosol spray can

Raid Ant and Roach Killer Fragrance-Free

Raid Ant and Roach Killer Fragrance Free (17.5 Ounce (Pack of 1))
  • Kills on contact.
  • Residual kill of ants and roaches works for up to four weeks.
  • Leaves behind no lingering chemical odor.
  • Has an Outdoor Fresh scent.
  • Use with other Raid Defense System products to work smarter, not...

Keep the pets and children away for 2 to 4 hours for safety purposes.

Method 3: Dust Treatment

The dust treatment can be helpful to eliminate the pavement ant colonies. Apply the dust at the entry points, holes and cracks of your house by following the instruction manual provided with the insecticides.

Our recommended indoor duster is Delta Dust Insecticide.

How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants Naturally | Natural Methods

If you do not want to apply artificial methods to eradicate the pavement ants, then use the following methods to eliminate their infestation.

Diatomaceous Earth

The Diatomaceous Earth powder is an eco-friendly, organic and harmless method to keep the pavement ants away from your house. You can sprinkle the powder at the different entry points and cracks inside the house to protect your house from these pests.

Boiling Water

One of the commonly used natural methods to get rid of ants is by pouring hot water in the shelters of pavement ants. This method is very effective to eliminate the ant infestations but probably only outside as the hot water can cause indoor damage.

Natural Baits

To prepare natural ant bait, mix 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a half teaspoon of borax. Place it near the entry point or cupboards to lure the pavement ants. Replace the bait after it gets dry. You can also mix sugar and borax or honey and borax to make different ant baits.

Herbs and Spices

Use ant repellent spices and herbs to keep the pavement ants away from the house. Place the insect repellent herbs at the entry point of pavement ants to prevent their colonization. Some of the ant repellent herbs and spices are whole cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, citrus oil, lavender oil, etc. Keep replacing the herbs or spices when they lose their sent.

Water and Vinegar

To make a natural vinegar-based pesticide, mix apple cider vinegar and water in an equal ratio (1:1). Apply the vinegar spray at the entry points and shelters of pavement ants.

Soapy Water

Prepare the soap and water solution for the excellent homemade insecticide spray. Take 1 cup of water and add around half a cup of dishwashing soap in it. Mix it thoroughly and pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Spray this mixture directly on the ants and in their nests to eliminate them.

Ground Coffee

Place the ground coffee near cracks and holes in the house. The ground coffee will act as a repellent for the pavement ants and will prevent them from colonization.

How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants in Walls?

Seal all the cracks in the walls to prevent the colonization of pavement ants in those places. You can use the natural or synthetic sprays to eradicate pavement ant infestation in the walls. Natural repellents, herbs or spices are other effective ways to keep them away.

Pavement vs Carpenter Ants: Differences

Pavement vs Carpenter Ants

Pavement ants (2.5 – 4 mm) are relatively small ants in comparison to carpenter ants (3.5 – 13 mm). Carpenter ants are destructive in nature, damage wood and can cause structural losses while pavement ants are harmless in nature. The pavement ants are brown to black in color, whereas carpenter ants have a  variety of colors such as yellow, orange, red and brown-black. They look almost the same but there is a difference in the number of nodes as it is seen on the picture. Carpenter ants have one while pavement ants have two.

How to Prevent Pavement Ant From Invading Your House: Instructions

The final step is the prevention of the pavement ant re-infestation. You can take the following preventive measure to stop the infestation of pavement ants from happening again.

  • Good sanitation practices are the key step to prevent pavement ant infestations. Take care of cleanliness and sweep your kitchen counters after every meal. Fix any water leakage problems in your house.

  • Remove all the construction materials, bricks or concrete slabs that are piled up around your house to remove places where pavement ants set up their shelters.

  • Prune all the grasses, bushes, creeper or crawler plants in your lawn that can act as a bridge entry for the pavement ants.


Pavement ants are harmless in nature, but in large numbers, they can cause havoc in any household. They eat sugary food, leftovers, dead matter and live in wet and warm places under pavements. These ants are not aggressive but can sting when they feel a threat.

To control the infestation of pavement ants, different chemical and natural methods can be applied. Out of all these methods. ant bait is the most effective one if you want to get rid of the entire colony of pavement ants. To prevent the re-infestation of pavement ants seal all the crack, crevices and possible shelters of ants.

We really hope our guide on how to get rid of the pavement ants was helpful and for more pest control related content please follow our site!

List of Sources

Pavement ant – Tetramorium caespitum, University of Florida

Pavement Ant, The Pennsylvania State University

Potter M., Ant Control for Householders, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Hoover, K. M., Bubak, A. N., Law, I. J., Yaeger, J., Renner, K. J., Swallow, J. G., & Greene, M. J. (2016). The organization of societal conflicts by pavement ants Tetramorium caespitum: an agent-based model of amine-mediated decision making

von Sicard N.A., Candy D.J., Anderson M., The biochemical composition of venom from the pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum L.), School of Biological Sciences, University of Birmingham, U.K.