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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants

Pavement ant—Tetramorium caespitum
Subfamily: Myrmicinae

Pavement ant worker
Pavement ant characteristics

Identifying characteristics


  • Feed on honeydew, insects, sweets, fruit, and greasy foods
  • Will feed on pet food both indoors and outdoors
  • Trails seen going to and from food sources, most often at night
  • Move in slow deliberate motion and are not easily disturbed
  • May move through plumbing pipes and electrical wires
  • Adjacent colonies fight, producing spectacular sidewalk “ant wars” in the spring

Nest type and size

  • Nest in lawns or under stones, wood, or boards
  • Mounds are built along sidewalks, baseboards, and near foundations in clusters
  • Colonies tend to be found near water
  • Usually one functional queen per colony

See also, pavement ant quick management tips.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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