Pavement Ant

Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Light to dark brown to blackish; dark parallel lines run down the head and thorax.


Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Nests are located in open soil or under stones and pavement, masonry or wood, near sidewalks, patios, and driveways. 


  • Will nest in walls, insulation, and flooring in commercial buildings.
  • Prefer to feed on honeydew, but also feeds on meat proteins and greasy foods.
  • Outdoors pavement ants nest under flat stones, sidewalks, and concrete slabs.

Pavement Ants in Southern California

Pavement ants nest beside and under sidewalks, driveways, and foundations. Found throughout southern California, pavement ants feed on a wide range of foods. However, they are partial to the honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. Mature pavement ant colonies produce winged swarmers in the spring. Ant swarmers can cause greater problems than worker ants in large commercial buildings. Due to their close proximity to buildings, they often make their way indoors in search of food. Swarms occur during the summer months and are sometimes confused with termites.

Pavement Ant Habitat

True to their name, pavement ants nest under or near sidewalks, slabs, and concrete. A colony will displace soil as it constructs underground galleries. This soil usually ends up in a nice mound on the surface of the ground or next to a patio or sidewalk. When nests are under sidewalks or slab foundations, the ants carry soil up through cracks, and piles of soil appear, growing larger by the day. Pavement ant nests generally occur at ground level and workers use pipes or wires to move upward. In commercial buildings, they often become an issue when the alates or reproductives emerge from openings in walls above false ceilings, then drop into the rooms below. 

Pavement Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Nuisance pests, pavements ants cause unsightly piles of sand on driveways, sidewalks, and inside commercial buildings. Pavement ants can bite and they do have a stinger, but they rarely bite humans. These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food as they forage. They will scavenge for any kind of edible crumb and will invade buildings to find food resources for their substantial colonies. When nests aren’t treated in time, pavement ants will continue to spread into new populations. If you suspect a pavement ant infestation, consult a professional ant exterminator. 


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