Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) are one of the most common household pests in the United States. This ant species gets its name from a unique odor it emits when squashed. Since this ant is a common home invader, it’s important to know what to expect. We’ve gathered information to help you identify and eliminate an infestation.
How do You Identify Odorous House Ants?
Odorous house ants are small, measuring between 1/16ʺ-1/8ʺ in length. They range in color from dark brown to black. They have a smooth, hairless body. Like most ant species, they have antennae with 12 segments.
Where Do You Find Odorous House Ants?
Odorous house ants can thrive outdoors and inside. These ants are opportunistic nesters and will settle down in a variety of spots. They nest in soil under wood and debris. When it rains, odorous house ants hop to a different nesting spot including your home. Inside, they nest near moisture. Leaky pipes, wall voids, behind cabinets, and under floors are all potential hiding places. These ants can be found throughout the United States.
What Do Odorous House Ants Eat?
These ants travel in trails searching for food and moisture during the day and night. Odorous house ants aren’t picky eaters. They eat sweets, dead insects, and meat. They also feed on honeydew that aphids produce.
How Did Odorous House Ants Get in my House?
Odorous house ants make their way into your home through cracks and crevices. They sneak in through windows, tears in screens, and under doorways. These ants can also use vegetation as a bridge to enter your home.
Signs of an Odorous House Ant Infestation
The most obvious sign of an infestation is seeing odorous house ants walking around your home. You may also notice swarming ants when they leave their nest to mate. Their unpleasant odor is another sign. When crushed, they emit a smell that has been compared to rotten coconuts.
Is an Odorous House Ant Problem Serious?
Odorous house ants can bite, but it isn’t painful. Their ant colonies can have multiple queens, which can lead to large infestations with thousands of ants. Odorous house ants travel over many surfaces, which can cause them to pick up bacteria. When these ants walk over food or food preparation surfaces, they can contaminate them.
How Do You Prevent Odorous House Ants?
There are things you can do to help keep odorous house ants from bugging you. Check out a few tips to prevent these pesky bugs.
- Remove Food Sources: Keep your sink free of dirty dishes. Sweep, mop, and vacuum regularly to remove crumbs and spills. Keep your trash sealed and take it out regularly.
- Seal Entry Points: Caulk to seal gaps, cracks, and holes in exterior walls to keep ants from getting inside your home.
- Minimize Moisture: These ants are attracted to moisture. Eliminate standing water from your yard and ensure you don’t have any leaks. When possible, avoid letting your sprinklers spray the side of your home and foundation.
- Store Firewood Properly: Keep firewood at least 20 feet away from your house.
- Trim Vegetation: Mow your lawn regularly. Trim trees and shrubs to keep them from touching the side of your home.
- Clean Your Yard: Remove yard debris including leaves, logs, and rocks. Keep mulch at least 12 inches away from your home’s foundation.
- Treat for Aphids: Odorous house ants feed on honeydew from aphids. These pests suck the sap from plants, which can damage them. Our plant-based 3-in-1 Garden Spray kills and repels plant pests.
How Do You Get Rid of Odorous House Ants?
There are a few options to help you control an odorous house ant infestation. We’ve gathered information to help you choose the best solution for you.
You can place ant bait stations, like our No Spill Ant Kill, or gel bait, like our Ant Killer Bait, near foraging trails close to the nest. Baits are designed to allow ants to eat and carry the bait back to the nest. This helps to eliminate the colony and keeps ants from returning to your home. Inside, bait stations can be placed on counters, in corners, and other spots with ant activity.
Plant-based insecticide sprays work well as a spot treatment for the ants you see. Our Ant & Roach Killer spray kills ants on contact and has repellent properties. It can be used in your home or outside. You can spray the perimeter of your yard and house with our Yard Bug Spray. It not only kills pests on contact, it also provides you with residual repellency. This acts like a barrier helping to deter ants.
Insecticide dusts also work well against ants. Our plant-based Spider & Insect Dust can be applied to ant nests and puffed into wall voids, along baseboards, and in other areas where ants have been seen. When undisturbed, dusts can provide you with long-lasting protection against ants and other pests.
Bug-proofing your home can help keep these smelly ants out of your house. If you’re dealing with an ant problem, we’re here to help! For a more environmentally and family-friendly solution, check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.