Sinking sidewalks? Plummeting patios? The tiny Western sidewalk ant may be the root cause. Ants are one of the the world’s prime earth movers, at least equal to earthworms. Unlike earthworms, they build extensive underground galleries in dry soil–such as the soil beneath sidewalks and patios. These ant earth movers push soil and sand up and out through cracks in sidewalks and concrete, and between bricks and pavers. Close inspection will reveal small mounds of dirt near cracks in areas of active ant infestations.
Western sidewalk ants aren’t really troublesome and, unless they decide to enter your house, may be ignored. However, if ants take up residence beneath your patio, their soil excavation may cause your patio or pavers to sink over time. Subsidence causes more cracks, more “doorways” for ants, and more places for weeds to sprout. To control Western sidewalk ants, contact a pest control professional.