Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (1970)
Common Name(s): odorous house ant
Workers are one size, about 1/8 inch – 3/16 inch and black to brown. The waist (pedicel) has one segment with a flattened node that is difficult to see. These ants emit a disagreeable, rotten coconut-like odor when crushed. The tip of the abdomen lacks a circle of hairs.
Origin and Distribution
Odorous house ants are very fast moving and run erratically. They form foraging trails to food sources. They do not sting. They are cavity nesters, preferring to nest in soil sometimes under stones, boards, or in hollow twigs. Indoors they can nest in wall voids or under floors.
Odorous house ants have moderate sized colonies of two to five thousand individuals. Although most feed primarily on honeydew and tend honeydew excreting insects in nature, many scavenge and are attracted to sweets and meat products.
Habitat & Hosts
Indoors, nests are found inside wall voids, around heaters and hot water pipes and in crevices around sinks and cupboards. Outdoors, nests are shallow, often under objects such as rocks, landscape timbers and mulch. They prefer sweets but will eat food with high protein (meat or carrion). These ants are fond of honeydew and tend honeydew-producing insects.
Egg, larva, pupa and adult.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
The most effective control method is with ant bait products.
Identifying Household Ants. Mike Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.