Many people interfere with the ant mounds without knowing the extent of the danger and get bitten by these aggressive pavement ants, leading to severe pain.
Are Pavement Ants Dangerous? Pavement ants are dangerous because they are responsible for causing structural damage to buildings and food contamination. It is challenging to control their population containing thousands of members that usually invade indoors for food. They can chew concrete surfaces with mandibles and can bite or sting.
Tetramorium caespitum are reddish-brown ants with 12-segmented antennae on their heads and a 3-segmented club. Their legs are pale in color, but gasters appear shiny.
Why are pavement ants dangerous?
There are different opinions about pavement ants, as a few people do not consider them dangerous due to their non-aggressive behavior, but they are responsible for damage to buildings.
Able to sting or bite
Pavement ants are 2 to 3-mm long insects possessing sharp mandibles that are present in their small mouth and are used as weapons during the fight with prey or predators.
It rarely happens that these insects use mandibles for biting, but threatening situations can provoke them to attack with their teeth.
They have pointed teeth coated with zinc particles extracted from food to make them sharp. However, their teeth are smaller, which cannot cause deep wounds but leave superficial cuts.
In addition, their bodies have stinging organs at the end of their abdomen that can help inject formic acid from the poison gland to the punctured bodies of prey.
They are not considered poisonous organisms but cause mild pain in the sting area that takes a few minutes to disappear.
Responsible for structural damage
These insects are known to cause structural damage to properties by forming nests close to the foundations of the building. They dig deeper into the soil and get underneath the buildings.
This way, they can affect the house’s stability after many years as these tiny insects displace soil particles while moving and put the house at risk.
Obviously, it does not happen in a few days or months, but this damage to the foundation can make buildings fall after many years.
They are known to sneak through narrow cracks in the pavement and build their nests under the concrete slabs; that’s why they are named pavement.
Moreover, they can chew hard concrete material in addition to cement slabs, bricks, wooden logs, and even stones if they find a tiny hole.
It seems like a task that is not possible for tiny ants to do, but they can make a hole in a hard surface after continuous and long-term effort.
Cause food contamination
They reach inside buildings for foraging when these omnivorous insects do not find plenty of dead insects and fruits in the garden or driveways.
Pavement ants are responsible for contaminating food on the countertop and entering the kitchen cabinets when searching for food particles.
Moreover, these insects move through trash bins and other dirty places while looking for a potent food source, but carry pathogenic bacteria and fungi spores on their bodies.
Accordingly, they can transfer pathogenic organisms to the food trays when they visit the kitchen countertop after detecting the odor of sweet food items.
You can avoid undesired entries of these tiny insects by proper packaging of the food items and using containers with tight lids to restrict them from reaching inside.
Difficult to control population
Pavement ants have larger colonies comprising almost 1000 to 10,000 members belonging to three different castes, but workers constitute a significant proportion of the population.
Their larger colonies need more nesting space to accommodate their members and are challenging to get controlled. You cannot get rid of their massive colonies by killing a few foragers.
It needs to be controlled by targeting their bigger nests filled with thousands of insects, which is a challenging task, as they can sting on your body with aggressiveness.
Moreover, they get attracted to sweet food items, rotting fruits, plant matter, and other possible food options indoors, so their broad options for diet make it difficult to keep them away.
Invade indoor places
Pavement ants build nests outdoors but can come inside buildings when they need food or detect a pleasant aroma of food from the kitchen.
In addition, they shift colonies indoors when they find the external environment is not suitable for their survival. Accordingly, they build nests within the wall cracks and behind baseboards in winter.
Their indoor invasions pose an increased risk to the stability of buildings because they build nests within the walls, floorboards, and behind drywalls, affecting their stability.
So, they are considered dangerous due to their nature of building nests within the buildings and choosing man-made food to eat.
Are pavement ants harmful to pets?
Pavement ants are not poisonous insects as their venom or formic acid does not cause toxicity. Their smaller bodies possess a tiny stinger having a smaller length and width.
It allows the transfer of smaller quantities of formic acid to their bodies, which cannot cause noticeable damage to the prey and feels like a mild irritation on the affected area.
Accordingly, they are not supposed to kill pet animals because their stinger cannot penetrate deeper into their body tissues to transfer venom into the bloodstream.
In the same way, they are not responsible for serious allergic reactions and anaphylactic shocks in children or even adult humans.
In addition, they are non-aggressive insects and remain busy doing activities but try to attack in response to threatening actions or interference with their trails and nests.
However, a large number of these insects within the building can pose a danger because they get inside the food container, and their long trails irritate while heading toward the countertop.
Where do pavement ants build their nests?
It is essential to know the nesting locations of pests to avoid exposure and deal with them in a better manner. Pavement ants usually build nests in outdoor areas, like driveways and sidewalks.
They look for pavement cracks to get under the concrete slabs and raise their population beneath the slab, as they prefer to remain hidden.
You can see their discarded wings on the sidewalks during spring which is the mating season for these insects. The queens discard wings and hide under the slabs to lay eggs and keep them safe.
Moreover, their colonies are also found within holes close to the building foundations, patios, and concrete slabs of sidewalks. Basement floors and cracks in roads also provide nesting spots.
The presence of food leftovers in the kitchen sinks and stains of juices on the floors can draw these insects indoors, and they find temporary hiding spots, like cracks in window sills and under floors.
However, the cold winter can also make them reach inside buildings to avoid death as they are at risk of death due to freezing.