Pest Resources

Pavement ants vs. sugar ants


There are two thousand species of ants in the United States. They are sociable insects that live in colonies. Some ant colonies have one queen others have multiple queens.

Sugar ants and Pavement ants spend most of the time outside away from humans until the food is scarce; they may come into the house and become a nuisance.

This article will discuss the main differences between Pavement ants and Sugar ants. We will also discuss how to get rid of your ant problem.

Let’s get started!

The Caste system

Within the colony, there is a caste system, with worker ants foraging for a food source, leaving scent trails so the other worker ants can follow it to the food source. Queens, larvae, and eggs stay in the nest. Food is collected and taken back to the colony by the workers.

Pavement ants vs. Sugar ants, what's the difference?

There are a few differences; please read on to find out more.

Pavement ants

Pavement ant colonies can be found in the soil, usually under sidewalks, rocks, and driveways. They excavate galleries under the soil using their mouthparts to move individual pieces of soil. A Pavement ants’ nest will look like piles of sand and can also be found in cracks, baseboards, tiles, heating ducts, and amongst vegetation.


  • If food is scarce, Pavement ants will forage for food in kitchens crawling on countertops and floors. Pavement ants will forage for dead insects, seeds, grease, nectar, and fruit as a food source.

  • A pavement ant will form a trail using pheromones to guide others to forage for food during the day. However, they are primarily active at night.

  • Pavement ants, like the Odorous house ant, are often referred to as a Sugar ants because of their love of sweet foods.

  • Pavement ants can sting to protect themselves from other ants. However, their stingers are unable to break human skin.

  • These little black ants are a nuisance to humans when they swarm during late spring or early summer. The queens and drones have wings and will make their nuptial flight leaving the colony to mate. Hence causing a swarm.

Sugar ants


  • A Sugar ant can live in harmony inside and out. At the same time, the Pavement ant has constant battles with other colonies.


  • A Sugar ant, as the name implies, is a term used for most ant pests that like sugary foods. They can live indoors and outside.

  • There is a specific species of Sugar ant called “Camponotus consobrinus. They can be found indoors and outside. They will build nests in hollowed branches of trees or under rocks and soil.

  • The male ant is completely black, and the female worker has an orange-brown-colored body.

Odorous house ants

  • The odorous house ant gets its name when it is crushed; it gives off a strong odor, a bit like the smell of rotten coconut. Odorous ants are commonly found in people’s houses.

  • The Odorous house ant is a pest that likes to nest in places around the house that can provide moisture.

  • Odorous house ants are often called sugar ants because they enjoy food with sugar in it.

  • Odorous ants do not bite or sting. These tiny black ants are about 0.12 inches long.

Carpenter ants

  • Carpenter ants are black and can be up to half an inch long. Carpenter ants get their name because they like nesting in damp and decaying wood. They want the moisture in the wood as it makes it easier for them to chew through.

  • Carpenter ants are known for destroying wooden items in people’s homes; they leave a trail of sawdust behind them.

  • Carpenter ants do not eat the wood. They like to eat honeydew produced by aphids. Inside the home, they will feed on pet food, meat, and sugar foods like jelly, syrup, and other sugar-based food.

Pharaoh ants

  • A Pharaoh ant is yellow to light brown in color and measures about 0.079 inches in length. Pharaoh ants look transparent, with the abdomen looking darker than their body.


  • Pharaoh ants like to feed on sugary food but will also feed on fats, plant pollen, food scraps, and proteins from eating other insects.

Rover ants

  • The Rover ant is tiny, about 1/16 of an inch in length. They are pale to dark brown in color. They do not sting or bite. They can be found in shrubs, mulched areas, nearby decaying wood, and bushes.

  • They are attracted to sugars and water; a swimming pool will attract them.

What attracts them to houses?

Generally, most ants are attracted to food, water, and dampness caused by leaks. Remove them, and the Sugar ants will not come into your home.

How to get rid of ant infestations



Seal up any cracks and entrances with caulk to stop the infestation from getting into your home.

Remove the food source

Next up, you need to eliminate the picnic attracting the Sugar ants in the house. Sweets, sugary foods, and greasy, fatty food attract a single ant, then other ants, insects, and other pests like rodents to your kitchen counter.

Wipe down countertops

It would help to prioritize wiping down countertops in the kitchen every time it is used for meal preparation to avoid an infestation.

If you see an ant or more wipe down the surfaces with white vinegar, Sugar ants do not like the smell. Mop the floor once a day or more to clean any sugary spills.

Throw out old food

If you have overripe fruit, get rid of it and keep as much foodstuff as possible in the refrigerator to avoid a pest problem.

Empty the garbage


Make a habit of emptying your garbage regularly. If you have a compost bucket, ensure it has a tight-fitting lid and empty it often to avoid a pest like Sugar ants.

Keep candy in sealed containers

Sugar ants love candy and other sweet-tasting foods. Keep them inside a sealed container. Remember, an ant can get into any minor gaps.

Do not forget the rest of your home, where snacks and drinks are consumed. A sugary drink spilled on a chair or floor in a dining room will attract Sugar ants.

Boric acid

Boric acid is ideal for getting rid of most ant species. It is used in ant baits for ant control; the worker ants take it back to the Sugar ant colony and feed it to the queen and other ants. The poison will kill them.

For pest control, mix the Boric acid with sugary items from the pantry like honey and leave the ant bait stations for the worker ants to find.

If you know where the Sugar ant nest colony is, place the ant bait on lids near the nest and along ant trails. To start, you may see more Sugar ants as the workers follow the trail, and then as the ant bait gets taken back to the nests, you will notice fewer pests.

Do not squash any of the foragers. You will need them to take the bait back to the colony. Make sure there is plenty of bait out for the foragers.

Professional pest control

A pest control expert can provide a permanent solution if you find the ant infestation too much to cope with. Some companies will offer a free quote beforehand.

And finally,

In the article, “Pavement ants vs. Sugar ants,” We presented helpful information and a few DIY ways of fighting Sugar ants in your home, but if you do not think you can fight these pests, then call a pest control company for a free quote for ant control to get rid of them; please do not leave it for too long. Sugar ants can get out of hand very quickly.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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