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Identifying Pavement Ants
Identifying Pavement Ants

Lawn Tips

Why Are There Ants On My Patio and Driveway? (Easy Solutions)

Easy Solutions for Getting Rid of Ants On Your Driveway

Now that spring has arrived and the weather has warmed up, spending time outdoors on the patio with friends is something I look forward to the most! While patio time is most of the time relaxing, your chill time can be disrupted when you find an army of ants has taken your pavement hostage.

Why are ants on my patio and driveway, you may ask? Well, there is actually a species of ant that thrives in the cracks and crevices of patios: tetramorium caespitum. In plain English, these ants are actually referred to as pavement ants! These little pests like to build their colonies in pavements, sidewalks, driveways or patios and will find the cracks in your patio to burrow and build their little colonies under your concrete patio slabs. The little worker ants will leave clues as to the whereabouts of their nests by leaving little piles of soil or sand around or beside your patio.

Thankfully, there are several easy solutions to getting rid of these pavement ants, so you can walk around your patio in peace without the frustrating visual of an ant army taking up residence on your chill pad.

What Are Patio Ants (Also Known as Pavement Ants)?

Before you wage war against the ants on your patio, it is helpful to try to identify the species of ant to ensure it is a simple pavement ant problem and not a more serious ant species. Pavement ants are very small (usually 1/8 to 1/16-inch long) and are black-brown with paler legs and antennae.

Although this species of ant is very common throughout the United States, they made their way to America from European ships centuries ago. They can be found from New England to the Mid-Atlantic, and are especially common in the Midwest.

How do You Identify Pavement Ants?

There are three notable features that will help you identify pavement ants:

  • They tend to move in small motions
  • More active at night
  • They smell acidic when crushed


Though small individually, these ants have moderate-to-large-sized colonies. They are also very persistent, and will even send winged ants that are twice as large as the typical worker ants to mate and form new colonies. The ants tend to grow in colony size during the spring and can do so throughout the summer, as well.

There Are Ants On My Patio: How Do I Get Rid Of Them? (Quick & Easy)

So you may have literally seen a trail of ants on your patio, or perhaps you’ve seen little dirt piles around the cracks of your patio and you’re ready to show these ants who is boss (you are, duh). Pavement ants are not unique compared to other insect infestations and will respond to bait.

It needs to be noted that an ant infestation will not be completely eradicated unless the queen is killed. The colony will thrive while the queen survives, and typical pavement ant colonies tend to have multiple queens. This is primarily why insecticidal sprays are often ineffective with ant colonies; while the visible workers will die, new ones will eventually take their place again.

For this reason, using ant bait is so important when dealing with these pests, because the workers will take the outdoor ant bait, carry it back to the nest to feed the queen. Make sure you purchase a slow-acting insecticide, so the worker ants aren’t killed before the bait makes it back to the queen.


driveway ant bait

remove rabbits from yard

Pavement ants have a broad diet, which is a good thing for you, homeowner. You have a variety of options to choose from with the traps you choose for your bait. They will feed on fruit, nectar, dead insects, honeydew, and small seeds. We recommend choosing both a protein and a sugar-based bait that is pre-filled with pesticides for convenience purposes.

If you really want to go the extra mile in removing these pests, there is insecticidal bait that comes in a gel, which can be squeezed directly into cracks of pavement. If you want to stick to the basics, obviously just place the bait traps near the colonies if you can find them, or next to the little dirt piles mentioned earlier. Once placed, ant bait usually takes around two weeks to control an infestation.

How To Get Rid of Pavement Ants Naturally

Pavement AntsSo, you may be a consumer that doesn’t agree with insecticide or chemical use. Or perhaps you have children or pets and don’t want chemicals in or around your home to ensure health and safety.

Fortunately, there are some more natural remedies to address your pavement ant problem:

  • Dish soap and water can be sprayed on the ants and their nests
  • A vinegar and water mixture can be sprayed on the nests, as well as where food sources may be
  • Baking soda and powdered sugar can act as a natural ant bait
  • Crushed mint leaves into the form of a powder can also act as an ant deterrent

How To Prevent Pavement Ants

So, you’ve managed to remove the ant infestation from your patio, how can you make sure this doesn’t happen again? While no plan is foolproof and nature can be mighty persistent, there are a few tricks to making your patio and your home less enticing to these pavement ants.

First, it is helpful to remove any shrubs or tree branches that are in direct contact with your home. This forms an easy pathway for ants to get from the plant and find the little cracks in your home that lead inside. Another preventative tip is to seal up any cracks or crevices around your patio, as well as the windows, doors, and the foundation of your home or local business.

Can Pavement Ants Hurt My Home?

While ants chilling on your patio can be annoying and even gross if you enjoy walking around barefoot, you may be wondering if these little pests can cause structural issues to your patio or even your home. Although highly inconvenient, no, these ants do not cause structural issues to your home. As their names suggest, they typically nest beneath concrete slabs, gravel, pavement, etc. They don’t nest in or eat wood like carpenter ants, so no worries!

Why Do Pavement Ants Come Inside?

Pavement ants can sometimes enter homes and buildings through a building’s concrete slab, weep holes, gaps, etc. In winter, these ants sometimes will nest inside, and will typically be found near masonry walls, in wall or ceiling voids, or heat sources. They most often will travel along pipelines or electrical lines, or along the edges of carpeting.

Pavement ants will work their way inside your home in search of food sources. Once inside, they can become quite annoying, as they will travel far from their colonies to find food in your home. These ants are also attracted to moist dap areas that have a water source. Most homeowners will find these pests in the kitchen, enjoying leftover crumbs or sugar residue on countertops.

Pavement Ants vs. Odorous Ants vs. Carpenter Ants

Ants are ants, right? Not exactly. There are several species of ants, and depending on what species you have on your patio or around your home can determine how alarmed you should be as a homeowner. You already know about pavement ants, but what are odorous ants or carpenter ants, the most common types of ants found here in the United States?

Odorous ants are the most commonly found house pests. Although they look similar to pavement ants, odorous ants get their name for a reason: when crushed, they leave a coconut-like smell. These pests love the indoors and while they won’t hurt the structure of your home, they can contaminate your food. This species of ant can have smaller colonies that range from 100 workers and one queen to larger colonies with as many as 10,000 worker ants and hundreds of queens.

Now, carpenter ants are a different story entirely. Carpenter ants are a species of ant that, if found on your property, should concern you as a homeowner. These ants destroy wood and will damage your home’s structure if left untreated. Unlike termites, they don’t eat the wood, but they will chew the wood on your home in order to tunnel and create nests.

This pest can go undetected for long periods of time, and once you realize you have an infestation, things are pretty serious for your home. There are ways to determine if you have these ants, however. Sometimes, you can see them marching around your home, or you could see sawdust evidence from their tunneling holes.

If you see carpenter ants in your house here are some ways to get rid of carpenter ants, so they don’t destroy your home.

Related Questions

Can pavement ants sting? Pavement ants are pretty docile, and while they can sting, they typically don’t string humans. Pavement ants have a stinger, but it’s typically used when fighting other ants and defending their territory.

How often do I need pest control? Homeowners are recommended to have pest control visit their homes as a preventative measure quarterly or every two to three months.

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for American Lawns. I've been a home owner for over 15 years. I've also had the pleasure of working with some experts in lawn care and outdoor living. I enjoy writing about everything related to your lawn, pests and types of grass. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.