Dirt Mounds Between Pavers – What They Are And How To Stop It?

Pavers offer a distinctive look and feel to any gardens, driveway, or sidewalk and are rapidly gaining popularity across the nation. However, it is frustrating to see the presence of enigmatic dirt mounds between your pavers. You might be wondering who or what is responsible for creating these tiny dirt castles and how you can stop this from protruding into your pavers. 

Pavement ants are the culprit of those dirt mounds between your pavers that ruins the look of your patio, paths, or driveways. To get rid of them, the following are some of the treatments you may apply:

  • Insecticidal Sprays Treatment
  • Insecticidal Baits Treatment
  • Paver Sealer Treatment
  • Polymeric Sand Treatment
  • Vinegar Treatment

Controlling pests can be difficult. The best outcome ultimately results from a combination of actions, sometimes preventive and sometimes corrective, rather than just one single solution. As a result, we'll cover as many topics and advice as we can in this article to assist you in finally getting rid of these burrowing pests. To learn more, keep reading.

Small nests of ants in the stone floor of wild tiles in the sunny courtyard. - Dirt Mounds Between Pavers - What They Are And How To Stop It?

What Are These Creatures Dirt Mounds Between Your Pavers?

At some point, you've probably noticed teeny tiny piles of soil and sand on your sidewalks or pavements. The pavement ants (Tetramorium immigrans) are probably to blame for this displaced dirt.

Two ants are working on yellow flower. Macro view. Close-up photography — Photo

These pavement pests, though originally from Europe, have made themselves at home in much of the US and have turned into one of the most prevalent ant species here.

Their name comes from the fact that they usually nest beneath pavements, but they can also pose a serious threat to homes by settling in the concrete slab foundations and inside your home.

Pavement ants appearing in pavers is a frequent issue that many people experience. Although not as dangerous as termites in your home, they can still be unsettling, and figuring out how to get rid of them can be challenging.

These pests can build extensive colonies and tunnels in safe confines by taking advantage of all the tiny crevices and seams. They can easily travel from point A to point B by navigating between the gaps or beneath the stones themselves, which we may consider solid and devoid of a trail.

The most annoying and frequent complaint is when dirt or ant mounds appear amid a gorgeous deck or driveway. When pavers are installed on top of cement, this occurs less frequently than when they are set in limestone or another similar material.

When a colony expands or when additional colonies arrive to take advantage of this prime poolside real estate, things can occasionally get really bad.

Sand from ants on garden paths

Are Pavement Ants A Serious Problem?

Although they are not harmful, pavement ants can be a nuisance. They frequently have multiple queens in their colonies, which can lead to severe infestations.

They could contaminate the food if they find it in your kitchen by stepping on it. Also, they are not hostile ants. Although they can sting, they are not likely to do so unless they perceive a threat.

How To Get Rid Of These Burrowing Pests?

Ants remove dirt as they excavate their nest chambers when they begin to nest beneath pavers. It's important to take action right away if you notice ants moving dirt around your pavers. 

Not only does it have an ugly appearance, but if their nest chambers grow large enough, they may begin to undermine the pavers. They become unstable as a result, and to fix the problem, relaying the pavers is frequently very expensive. So here are some treatments you may apply to get rid of them.

Insecticidal Sprays Treatment

Homemade ant repellent spray mixture in bottle. Person hand spraying insect repellent on home terrace wood boards. — Photo

Sprays with plant-based insecticides can aid in eliminating the ants you see. You should be able to get enough liquid down of your pavers where the pavement ants mining to destroy the nest even though it's possible that it won't completely penetrate. This is simply because sprays perform well as a spot treatment. 

Click here to see this plant-based ant killer on Amazon.

Make sure what you're using won't stain before you spray. Take a small test spray and place it on a concealed edge or corner. If it dries and leaves no stain then you are good to go. 

Insecticidal Baits Treatment

Insecticidal baits work best for controlling an infestation, just like they do for most ant species. If you don't eliminate the colony by killing the queen, you won't be able to completely get rid of an ant infestation.

Insecticidal sprays intended to repel insects frequently fail for this reason. They will simply eliminate the readily visible workers, but new ones will quickly replace them. When an insecticidal bait is used in its place, this will be consumed by the workers, who then bring it back to the nest to give the queen food.

It is best to use a slow-acting insecticide for this since it gives the workers time to deliver the poison back to the colony before they die. Hydramethylnon, boric acid, and fipronil are examples of slow-acting insecticides suitable for use as ant bait.

Pavement ants have a wide range of food preferences, which is advantageous because it gives you a wide range of trap options. The most practical bait stations are: 

Sugar Baits

An example of sugar bait is the Terro liquid ant bait. This product contains boric acid that is non-toxic to humans but extremely toxic to ants. It is easy to use along baseboards, windowsills, and underneath kitchen counters. You can squeeze this liquid sugar bait directly into paving stone or baseboard cracks.

Click here to see this Terro liquid ant bait on Amazon.

Protein Baits

This bait contains fipronil or hydramethylnon, substances that are effective in eliminating both the queen and the entire ant colony. Protein-based ant killer is available as a gel or liquid bait station.

Click here to see this ant-killing gel on Amazon.

Click here to see this ant-killing bait station on Amazon.

If you can locate their colonies, place the bait there or close to their trails. Using bait traps, an infestation may take two weeks or longer to control. 

Fortunately, insects are much more sensitive than people or pets to the low levels of pesticides present in these products. When using any chemicals on your property or inside your house, you should still exercise caution.

Paver Sealer Treatment

Sealing pavers will also prevent ants, as some people wonder. Applying a sealant to your pavers prevents ants from entering the cracks and beginning to scavenge in the soil.

In addition to sealing the joint material and preventing ants from ever entering, sealing holds the numerous stones that make up the pavers in place.

Click here to see this paver sealer on Amazon.

If the ants are unable to enter, they will leave the area and search for a new home elsewhere. It is advisable to seal your pavers if you can.

Reapplying the sealer is necessary for the sealing every three to five years. When the paver seal starts to deteriorate, you'll notice it and can reapply the sealant to keep the ants out.

Polymeric Sand Treatment

Hand with falling sand on pile

Although the sealer is a great tool for preventing ants, it functions best in conjunction with other elements. Additionally, the sand you use between the joints is essential.

Special alloys are used in the majority of modern paving projects to anchor blocks in place. The name of one of these alloys is polymeric sand. Sand typically contains between 85% and 90% quartz and crystalline silica, which is what gives the material its notably strong binding ability.

Click here to see this polymeric sand on Amazon.

This sand becomes activated by water, which causes the polymers to harden. This effectively locks the pavers into place. A nearly impenetrable barrier will be created by applying a sealer over the surface. A video demonstrating how to use polymeric sand on pavers is shown on YouTube below.

Vinegar Treatment

White vinegar in bottle

It would take a little longer to clean and reapply the new sealing layer. However, a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water mixture is one of the simplest ways to get rid of them. Or simply vinegar. White vinegar not only kills ants but also keeps them away. Try using diluted vinegar if you're having an insect problem.

Click here to see this vinegar on Amazon.

Once the vinegar has dried, it still has a strong smell that attracts ants. However, most people aren't able to smell it for very long.


Pavement ants can be a problem. They frequently gain access to homes through gaps in the slab or foundation, and they'll consume almost anything. The piles of sand or dirt they leave behind near their nests can be used to identify an infestation. 

These are frequently noticeable in the paving stone or sidewalk cracks. They are relatively simple to eradicate as long as you follow the tips mentioned above.

Before leaving, don't hesitate to read some of our interesting articles below.

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