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Tips for Effective Pavement Ant Control

Pavement ants are just about the most common species of ant in North America. They vary in color from red brown to blackish-brown in appearance, are ⅛" to ¼" length, and get their name from the tiny mounds often seen between slabs of pavement.

Pavement ants usually nest outdoors in the ground under sidewalks, driveways, in the cracks of pavement, in lawns, and near the foundation of buildings. Occasionally they nest in walls, under floors, and in insulation. They can enter homes or buildings through the smallest cracks and crevices.

A typical colony may contain as many as 3,000 to 5,000 ants, but colonies can grow five to six times that number at a single site. This is due, in part, to the pavement ant's ability to have multiple queens in a single colony, whereas most ant species have only one queen per colony. That’s why effective pavement ant control begins with killing the queen.

Pavement ants feed on a wide variety of food such as sweets, including sugar, nectar, fruits, and syrups. Grease, dead insects, and small seeds also are scavenged and stored in the nest. In fact, nearly any morsel of food that lands on the floor will attract pavement ants.

Combat baits and gels are often the best method for pavement ant control. Combat is a deadly ant killer formulated with a sugar loaded formula that ants find irresistible. But unlike spray insecticides, Combat allows worker ants foraging for food and water to bring the poison back to the nest where it’s shared with other ants including the queen. It’s this delayed mode of action that makes Combat so successful in eliminating pavement ant infestations.

To increase the effectiveness of your pavement ant control strategy, determine their entry point, travel route, and what food they are foraging. Inside the house, pavement ants often travel along baseboards or under the edge of carpet. Using a spray insecticide along the baseboard will not provide complete control like Combat, and will only prompt the ants to move their trail to another location. Place baits along indoor ant trails, and check on them at regular intervals to verify that they were placed in the correct locations and that the ants are feeding on the bait. Replenish baits that are consumed. Keep in mind that baits will be most effective if no other food scraps are left available to divert the ants’ attention.

Use Combat gel to fill in small openings, such as thin cracks in the walls and foundation, around the opening where pipes come through the wall, and in hard to reach places or where baits are not a suitable option.

Outside of your house you should establish a vegetation-free zone filled with gravel or decorative stone along the foundation. This will discourage the ants from nesting close to walls. Any mulch used near the house should be no more than two inches deep.

For more and information, visit our prevention tips page or view our “5 Ways to Outsmart Ants” video to keep ants from bugging you. In addition, please visit the Combat® video archive to learn more about the difference between Combat Baits and Gel, and which is the best solution for total pavement ant control.

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