Learn about Utah Pavement Ants
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Pavement Ants are widespread in Utah. They are often referred to as sugar ants. They are dark brown to black and tiny, only 2.5-4 mm long. They get their name from their habit of nesting under stones, sidewalk cracks, pavement, etc., and they like to live near homes.
Pavement ant colonies have multiple queens and can contain tens of thousands of workers (though a typical colony will have several thousand). Queens are slightly larger than the other ants in the colony and may be seen outside the nest on warm days.
Pavement Ant Habitat
Pavement ants live and nest in colonies under large paving stones, sidewalks, patios, driveways, and other yard areas with little to no vegetation. Most of their colonies are located in the soil underneath concrete slab foundations. These ants will also build colonies in and around homes and other types of structures.
The pavement ant’s queen is responsible for laying eggs that hatch into larvae and eventually develop into new workers. These ants will create satellite nests outside their main colony in the springtime. These satellite nests are usually located in cracks or crevices between bricks and pavement or near stumps or plants.
Pavement ants feed on a variety of food items. They feed on sweets, greases, and meats. They also eat other insects, seeds, and honeydew from aphids and scale insects. They are known for foraging in kitchens, where they eat bread, cheese, meat, honey, and nuts. Because of their scavenging habits, pavement ants can introduce bacteria into human food supplies.
Life Cycle & Reproduction
Pavement ants have a simple life cycle. The queen produces eggs, and the workers feed the new ants and clean the nest. Pavement ant queens can produce up to 8,000 eggs annually in a moderate-sized colony. Eggs are laid in batches of 10 to 20, and larvae hatch in about seven to 10 days if the temperature is warm enough. Pavement ants can have multiple colonies within proximity, with each colony having multiple queens.
The eggs hatch into white-colored larvae that look like maggots. The larvae develop their hard outer shell from the first day they hatch and will continue to molt as they grow larger. After two weeks, the larvae will enter the pupal stage of development, which takes about one week in hot weather or two weeks in cooler conditions.
Adult pavement ants emerge from the pupal stage and continue to grow for about one month before reaching maturity. The lifespan of worker pavement ants is about three years, but queens can live for nearly 20 years and produce eggs for at least 15 years.
Pavement ants will sometimes nest under a structure’s foundation or concrete slab. They may also displace insulation around hot water pipes and wiring, creating a fire hazard.
Indoors, pavement ants can contaminate food and provide food for other pests, such as cockroaches. Indoor nests can be created in wall voids, under carpeting, and even inside the foam insulation in the hollow spaces of walls. When an indoor nest is disturbed, thousands of worker ants may exit the nest rapidly and be seen crawling on floors, countertops, sinks, and other surfaces. Click here to learn about ant removal.