Recently, I received a call from a new commercial client who owned a restaurant out in Farmingdale, NJ who was suffering from an ant issue. Once I arrived at the property I spoke to the client to get additional information about his ant issue. It’s imperative for all our clients to provide us with as much information as possible regarding their pest issues — such as where they saw the pests, what items are stored in that room, do you see the pests come out at a certain times during day, what color are the ants, do you have a basement, crawl space, or slap, etc. The more information we obtain from the client the better we can conduct our an inspection to solve your pest issue. In this situation, the client reported that he saw ants in his kitchen underneath the sink.
I proceeded to inspect underneath the sink and came across a large number of ants. Upon closer inspection, I determined that these ants are pavement ants. Pavements ants are about 1/8-inch long and are dark brown to black in color. Their name comes from nesting under sidewalks, driveways and piling dirt removed from the nest in a mound on top of the pavement, often located between sidewalk cracks. These are the type of ants that are often mistaken for termites because both are similar in color and the adult male and female swarmer pavement ants have wings. An easy way to distinguish the difference between the two is pavement ants have a three-body segment (head, thorax, and abdomen) while termites have a two-body segment (head and waist).
Now that I know what type of ants are infesting the client's kitchen, the next step is finding the colony!
The most successful way to find an ants colony is to follow their trail. When a worker ant leaves the colony in search for food they leave behind a pheromone trail. When an ant finds food, it can follow its own pheromone trail back to the nest —much like leaving a trail of bread crumbs through the woods to find your way back home. On the way back to the nest, the ant informs the other ants that it found food by laying down more pheromone, creating a trail with an even stronger scent. So before you go ahead and start removing ants from your home, follow their trail first to find their colony.
I noticed there was a trail of pavement ants along baseboards. I follow the trail until I finally found the nest in between floor tiles. I proceeded to treat along the baseboards with a nonrepellent residual formulation and also applied ant gel bait. What this solution does is any ants crawling on treated areas or swallows the gel bait will bring it to the nest, share it among the queen and other ants, and eventually eliminate the whole colony. Although pavements ants commonly build their nests outside, their choice this time was the client's kitchen. A perfect place to survive during an extremely cold winter to find food, water, and shelter. In a short amount of time, the client’s kitchen will be ant free!