I went out on a service call for a commercial client of Cowleys, a convenience store in Marlboro, NJ. One of the workers had mentioned that he spotted a few ants on the counter near the soda machine. I began my inspection and came across a large puddle of water on the floor between the counter and exterior wall. I inspected behind the counter and discovered that somehow the drain line from the soda machine slipped out and was draining onto the floor. As I took a closer look I found several pavement ants trailing along the edge.
Pavement ants are brownish-black ants with pale-colored legs and are approximately 1/16 of an inch long. They have two spines between their body parts with tiny stiff hairs covering their body. Pavement ants build their colony beneath pavement cracks, rocks, driveways, and sidewalks. They tunnel into the soil to dig out their colony, pushing the dirt up through the top of its nest, creating mini sandhill-like mounds. A typical pavement ant colony will have 3,000 to 5,000 ants and they can have more than one queen in each colony.
First, I reinstalled the drain line back into the floor drain and immediately notified the manager. After the workers mopped up the area I applied an ant gel bait behind the counter for any trailing ants. The gel bait is a non-repellent application that encourages the ants to eat the bait and return to the colony to share the bait with other ants. Finally, I treated the entire exterior of the property with a liquid non-repellent application. Once the ants come in contact with either the liquid application or the gel bait, eventually the entire colony will be eliminated.
The manager and I discussed the importance of instituting a cleaning program that would prevent insect infestations or, at least, minimize their severity. I was happy to hear that she implemented a new sanitation protocol for her staff to follow. I scheduled a follow-up inspection to monitor ant activity and apply any additional treatments if needed.