This particular residential job involved pavement ants. Here in New Jersey, soil-nesting pavement ants, one of the most common house-infesting ants, start making their presence known in early spring. After a long winter rest where insects become dormant, warming spring temperatures act like an alarm clock . The insects spring back to life and once again start their cycle of reproducing and foraging for food. These particular ants, called “pavement” ants because of their preferred nesting locations, often nest and excavate soil to build their colonies underneath sidewalks, building slabs, walkways, and patios. Once temperatures warm, a common sign of a pavement ant problem are little sand piles where the ants deposit debris from their excavation work popping up nearby cracks in sidewalks and concrete slabs. The foraging ants come a nuisance once they enter homes and other structures through cracks in foundation walls and interior slabs.
This homeowner in Beachwood, NJ, starting seeing ants crawling all around her front porch, but she couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. She was rightly concerned that the ants would soon find their way inside her home. She contacted Cowleys to take care of the infestation before her ant problem worsened.
I start my inspection as soon as I drive onto a customer’s property. I want to have a general idea of the layout of the home and surrounding area even before I ring the doorbell. There are often clues that help me identify the source of the infestation and develop a treatment plan. As I walked up to the front door, I noticed several cracks in the walkway leading to the from steps where she reported seeing ants. Walkway cracks and pavement ants go hand in hand. These ants nest under walkways because the soil directly underneath provides them with a stable, dry environment for their colony to thrive. Also, the ants use walkway cracks as little protective pathways to move about while foraging. From my experience, these ants being looking for protein feedings in early spring before their sugar feedings in the summer.
To treat the infestation, I performed a light liquid application to all of the crack and crevices areas around the walkway as well as her front porch. Any foraging ants that cross the treated areas will carry the non-repellant product back to the nest, soon eliminating he ant colony. With this product, the ants don’t die immediately. I like to think of it as a Trojan Horse. The product keeps the ants alive long enough, so that they unknowingly carry it back to the colony where it spreads and is shared by everyone.
Also, this is a residual product, meaning that it is long-lasting in the soil and will continue to work. Pavement ant colonies can be quite large — some of them have over 10,000 workers! It is important to have a product that works over a period of time. I explained the treatment process to the homeowner who was observing me. She was curious why the ants weren’t immediately dying. With social insects like ants that live in subterranean nests, resolving an infestation requires a little time and patience. Killing a few isolated foraging ants is not a permanent solution.