As soon as cracks form on a driveway, ants are usually not far behind. These cracks provide access to the soft and warm soil underneath where ants make a home. Even if you don’t see the ants, you’ll notice mounds or trails of dirt along cracks.
If you don’t do anything, these ants will eventually start getting into your home in search of food. They can also cause significant damage to the driveway. Here’s a quick guide on how to get rid of ants in driveway cracks.
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What Causes Ants To Appear In Driveway Cracks?
Most types of ants live underground in colonies. They built tunnels and chambers where they live, travel through and lay their eggs.
The sand and soil underneath your driveway is perfect for ants. It’s soft, aerated and the pavement or concrete above keeps it warm.
So when a crack appears on the driveway, it makes for a great entry point for the ants into the underground. The ants then use these cracks as an entry and exit as they forage for food and take it back to the colony.
The mounds of soil along driveway cracks are only a small portion of what’s going on underneath. Below the surface, the ants make elaborate tunnels that go even deeper. These lead to chambers that house the queen, food, worker ants, and larvae.
Can Ants Damage A Driveway?
You may be tempted to ignore ants appearing in cracks on your driveway. After all, they don’t seem to cause any major damage. With the exception of a few species that can cause painful stings, most ants are also harmless.
But there are two big problems with ants in the driveway.
One, the ants are now closer to your home.
Ants like to live underground, but they go searching for food wherever they can find it. That’s why they love the cracks on your driveway; they provide a perfect throughway during their hunt for food.
The driveway cracks bring the ants closer to your home, increasing the risk of ants right inside your home.
Ants are attracted to sugary foods, carbohydrates, proteins and even water. So your home has lots of yummy stuff for them.
The other problem is that the ants can damage your driveway. They won’t damage the concrete or pavers directly, but will instead degrade the base layer supporting the driveway.
This video shows just how much material pavement ants can shift from between and under pavers.
Over time, ants can move so much material that your driveway begins to weaken. This can lead to wider cracks, sinkage, and separation of pavers.
By the way, this can also happen on other paved surfaces such as walkways and the patio.
Something else: ants can also encourage grass and weeds to grow in cracks. As they turn over the soil and improve aeration in the cracks, they create the perfect conditions for weeds to sprout. Weeds and grass can cause further damage to the driveway.
5 Ways To Get Rid of Ants in Driveway Cracks
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get rid of ants from driveway cracks. You can use store-bought ant killers and baits, or use things you can easily find in your home.
Here are 5 tips for getting rid of ants in driveway cracks.
1. Apply an Ant Killer
The quickest and most effective way of getting rid of ants is using a pesticide. The best types of pesticides are ant baits such as Terro liquid ant baits.
These baits attract ants and then the ants share the bait with other ants in the colony. This ensures that when the poison works, it eliminates the entire colony.
The best place to place the baits is along the cracks, where the ants can easily find them.
But if there’s a risk you’ll drive over the bait or kids and pets can get to them, you can also place them in other places where ants like to go such as near the garbage bin, inside the house, or in a corner.
There are actually ant baits designed specifically for use outdoors such as these Terro ant bait stakes.
There are also ant baits that you can apply directly on the cracks as well as around your home to block the ants from venturing close to the house.
Most ant baits and killers can eradicate many different kinds of ants. But if you are dealing with fire ants, there are special ant killers made for these hard to get rid of ants.
Tip: When using ant killers and baits, read the usage and safety instructions carefully as they can be harmful to people and pets. Be especially cautious if you have kids or pets in your home.
Most pesticides use borax as the main ingredient to kill ants. You can make your own homemade ant bait using borax and sugar.
The sugar attracts the ants while the borax kills them. Mix half a cup of sugar and 1.5 tablespoons of borax. Add one and a half cups of water to the mixture.
Dip cotton balls in the solution and place them near the cracks on the driveway, or wherever the ants like to frequent.
This method requires some patience as borax is a slow acting poison. This is actually a good thing because it allows the ants to take the borax back to the colony. If they died immediately, it would warn other ants to stay away from the bait.
Replace the cotton balls daily until you are sure all the ants are gone. Repeat this procedure every time you spot new ants starting to appear in the driveway cracks.
If the ants aren’t coming to the cotton balls, try mixing borax and peanut butter instead. Some ants are more attracted to savory foods.
Tip: If you don’t have borax, baking soda can also kill ants. Mix baking soda and sugar (don’t add water), then sprinkle the mixture along the cracks. To ensure the ants ingest the baking soda, use fine powdered sugar.
3. Find The Colony and Get Rid Of It
Only killing the ants is not as effective since there are many more ants hidden underground. Ant baits, whether store-bought or homemade, can kill even the ants you can’t see but that takes days or weeks.
If you want to quickly get rid of ants in the driveway, look for their colony and get rid of it entirely.
But this is easier said than done, especially on a driveway. Ant nests go deeper than you can see, sometimes as deep as 25 feet.
Unless you are willing to rip apart your driveway looking for the colony, this option is not ideal for most homeowners.
The best you can do is try to attack the colony from the anti hills formed on the driveway. These are small mounds of dirt that form as ants excavate tunnels underground.
Once you find an anthill, pour very hot or boiling water inside it. This will kill most of the colony as well as the queen.
4. Use Coffee Grounds
If you are feeling uneasy about killing ants, you can deter them instead using used coffee grounds.
Used coffee grounds have a powerful smell that confuses worker ants and makes them lose their scent trail. After some time, ants will know to avoid the coffee.
Sprinkle used coffee grounds (they have a stronger smell than unused ground coffee) along the cracks in the driveway to deter the ants.
You’ll need to do this often to prevent the ants from coming back once the coffee loses its aroma.
Another excellent ant deterrent is vinegar. Similar to coffee grounds, the overwhelming smell of vinegar confuses the ants and keeps them away.
Pour white distilled vinegar along the cracks and you’ll notice the ants no longer come up through the,. As with the coffee grounds, this method requires frequent reapplication to keep ants at bay.
5. Fix The Cracks
The above solutions work to kill or keep away ants, but they are not long term solutions. As long as you have cracks on the driveway, you’ll always be dealing with ants.
To permanently get rid of ants in driveway cracks, the best solution is to fix the cracks. There are lots of products in the market for repairing driveway cracks such as sealants and fillers.
If you have extensive cracks on the driveway that don’t make sense to repair one by one, the best option is to resurface the driveway.
This involves removing a layer of the driveway and laying down a new layer. To prevent future cracks, consider sealing the driveway with epoxy.
If cracks are constantly appearing on your driveway, try to figure out what’s causing them. An inadequate base layer is usually the problem. Poor drainage can also contribute to cracks on the driveway.
Also check if you are subjecting the driveway to more weight and stress than it’s designed to handle. Heavy vehicles or machinery can cause cracks on the driveway.