Odorous Ants

Odorous Ants are named after the foul, rotten coconut smell they produce when crushed or stepped on. They are native to most of the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. Tapinoma sessile, or Odorous House Ants, are opportunistic pests that get into homes looking for food, water, and nesting sites. Although these ants don’t sting, they are known to give painful bites when disturbed.

You’ll often find odorous ants foraging around the base of your home, especially during the warmer months when temperatures range between 70 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. They are the second most controlled ant by professional exterminators in the United States.

Odorous ants can develop into massive colonies, where they maintain populations with thousands of workers and multiple queens. Their workers are highly active and constantly maneuver in single lines.

How To Identify Odorous Ants

The significant factor that distinguishes odorous house ants from other ants is the distinctive rotten coconut smell that they emit when crushed. However, you can also differentiate them with other features, such as:

Color: Dark-brown to black

Size: Both female and male odorous ants are equal in size and very small, usually ranging from 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch, or 2.4 to 3.33 mm, in length.

Bodily features: They have six legs, smooth exoskeletons, and their thorax seems unevenly shaped when observed from one side. Their antennae are segmented 12 times, and they have one node on their petiole, between the thorax and abdomen.

Habitat: Outdoors, these creatures will be found in moist areas under objects such as mulch, rocks, logs, and pavements. Inside the house, these smelly creatures will nest around hot water pipes, heaters, crevices in walls, and underneath broken floors.

Diet: Odorous Ants love feeding on honeydew produced by aphids and flower nectar. When they find their way into your house, they’ll eat sweet things such as sugar and bread, but can also consume things you may not expect, like dead insects and grease.

Are Odorous Ants Dangerous?

Odorous ants won’t bite you unless you disrupt their lifestyle or attack their colony. They also don’t pose any public health risk, but considering that their colonies can carry hundreds if not thousands of ants, they have the potential to be a real nuisance in your home. They can also contaminate all your food and leave your house smelling like a rotten coconut if you accidentally step on one of these pests.

Odorous Ants Prevention and Control

Most insects, odorous ants included, like to stay where there’s warmth and moisture, so one way to prevent their infestation is to eliminate any potential water sources. Repair broken pipes, drain stagnant water and ensure that you don’t have leaking sinks.

Keep pruned branches and piles of wood away from physical structures, seal any cracks in the walls, and make sure the weep holes around your foundation are stuffed with a sturdy mesh, such as copper or steel wool. If possible, use less mulch on your flower garden and keep any building materials away from the house.

If you discover that odorous ants have already infested your home, the best thing is to contact a professional exterminator immediately as these creatures are challenging to deal with on your own. Injured odorous ant workers can continue working even with crushed or missing limbs, while injured queens can continue laying eggs and have even been known to survive up to two months without food or water. With such tenacity, you need someone who knows what they’re doing to help you get rid of them once and for all.

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