Odorous house ants (or Tapinoma sessile) get their rather ominous name from the smell they give off when they’re crushed. These small ants are native to the US and are very common indoor pest.
APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOR
Odorous house ant workers are 1/8″ long and brown or black. House ants have unevenly rounded thoraxes and single-segmented waists. Odorous house ants don’t sting or bite, but they do emit their signature odor when crushed. The House ant odor smells a bit like rotten coconuts.
House ant colonies may be comprised of several hundred to as many as 10,000 ants. There are usually many queens in a colony. The ant’s development time (egg to adult) ranges depending on temperature. During summer, it typically takes 34-83 days. In winter, it may take as many as 6 to 7 months. Colonies typically produce 4 to 5 generations a year. House ants mate both inside and outside the nest, and the first swarmers appear from May to mid-July. The workers and queens live for several years. Individuals from different colonies are not hostile to one another, and workers normally move together in long trails.
Inside, these ants usually construct their nests in dark, warm, and secluded places. It’s common to find colonies behind siding, veneer and stucco, in wall voids (especially around hot water pipes and heaters), and in crevices around sinks and cupboards. House ants prefer sweets but also eat foods with high protein content and grease such as meats and cheese. Outside, House ants take up residence in the nests of larger ants, in exposed soil, or under objects. Workers feed on insects, seek honeydew and plant secretions, and even feed on seeds. They’re extremely fond of honeydew, and frequently hunt honeydew-excreting insects like aphids, scale insects, and mealy bugs. They’re most likely to enter buildings when their honeydew supply is reduced, such as during rainy weather or after the leaves fall in autumn.
ODOROUS HOUSE ANT CONTROL AND PREVENTION
House ants are opportunistic foragers. They look for easily-accessible food and water, especially when it’s sugary. One of the most important ways you can prevent house ants is by quickly and thoroughly cleaning up spills. Don’t let food crumbs or beverage spills sit out for any period of time. Make sure you securely store all your food whenever you’re not eating it. Keep dried food items like cereal, pasta, and flour in airtight containers. Make sure your food prep, dining, and garbage areas are clean and tidy at all times.
Locating the nests is crucial to effectively, permanently removing an infestation. A Plunkett’s pest control specialist locates House ant nests by following the trail of foraging workers back from food sources. Then, they strategically place insecticide baits and dusts into outside ground-floor walls and infested interior walls. They’ll also apply a residual insecticide perimeter (barrier) treatment along your foundation exterior. If necessary, the technician may even apply additional insecticide baiting around landscaping features on the premises.
By effectively controlling the ant infestation everywhere it is, Plunkett’s can drive it away from your property permanently. If you need help controlling your ant problem, just give Plunkett’s a call any time.