When a customer calls about ants, my first priority is to identify what type of ant it is. There are several different types of ants that a homeowner may see. Pavement ants are one of the most common types of ants seen in the Twin Cities. Commonly referred to as “Sugar ants”, or “Grease ants”. They are the little ants that push up the sand piles in between the sidewalk cracks. They can be reddish-brown to black in color.
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Did you know that their colony has several queens and as many as 5,000 to 8,000 members? Only about 10% of them come up to find food and water for the 90% that stay in the nest site.
If you were seeing these ants (or any type of ants) during the winter months, you definitely have a nest site inside your home. Pavement ants get their name from the area they prefer to nest, under pavement slabs. If your home has heated floors, or if your heat registers are in the floor, that can keep their environment warm enough to be awake when it is so cold outside.
There are other types of small black ants that look very similar to the pavement ant. This is how to properly identify them. Ants have a body made up of 3 segments; (head, thorax, and abdomen). Use a magnifying glass to look in between the abdomen and the thorax. You should see two small bumps called “nodes”, if it is a pavement ant.
One more interesting tidbit about ants is, that the adults do not eat solid food. They carry it back to the nest and hand it over to the larvae, so they can chew the solid into a liquid. The larvae then pass the liquid back to the adult. The adult distributes the food, mouth to mouth to each member through a process called, “trophallaxis”.