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Something is excavating sand/mortar from between paving bricks, as seen here. I thought it was ants, but I've placed ant traps and bait and there seems to be no effect. Also, when the mounds are disturbed, no insects are visible.

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Here's a close-up view of the large pile at the left.

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That's a significant amount of sand/mortar being removed.

If it's not ants, what insect is causing this?

  • Good question, thank you for including photographs. – whiskeychief May 13 at 10:32
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Sidewalk ants are a thing. They are very tiny. But there are also many species of wasp that do this, and are difficult to spot since they spend time either underground or in flight.

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