odorous house ants around a spill

Odorous House Ants

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What do odorous house ants look like?

One of the most common house-infesting ants, odorous house ant workers are dark brown to black in color, are about 1/16 to 1/8-inch long, and have 12-segmented antennae without clubs.

odorous house ant searching for food

Pest Facts

Did you know?

  • Odorous house ants travel both in set trails along tree branches, foundations, sidewalks, and baseboards.
  • They also travel in a wandering pattern.
  • When alarmed, they scurry around with their abdomens raised in the air.

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When are odorous house ants most active?

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Biology of odorous house ants

Odorous house ant colonies are home to approximately 10,000 workers and several queens that lay one egg per day. It takes approximately 34-83 days for an egg to develop into an adult. Winter and other variables may affect the speed at which ants develop though.

Odorous house ants swarm to mate from early May through Mid-July, and also mate in existing nests, forming new colonies by budding off original colonies. 

Where do odorous house ants nest?

Outdoors, odorous house ants create shallow nests under stones, logs, loose bark of trees, and beneath man-made objects as well as in the nests of larger ants.

They also establish nests indoors, typically in wall or floor voids and around heat sources. Property owners also find these ants in areas where there is water damaged or damp wood, insulation, and around plumbing fixtures.

What do odorous house ants eat?

Odorous house ants feed on honeydew excreted by aphids and on nectar from plants. They also feed on dead and living insects.

Inside structures, these ants tend to feed on just about any household food they can find but have a strong preference for foods high in sugar.

Are odorous house ants dangerous?

When they enter homes and buildings in large numbers odorous house ants are considered nuisance ants but not dangerous ones. They do not bite or sting. They do not transmit disease and they do not damage structures but they will contaminate food products.

How did I get odorous house ants?

When honeydew washes off plants after a rain or when their supplies run low, odorous house ants often move indoors in search of food. Once inside, they create nests in locations close to food and moisture sources.

How do you get rid of odorous house ants?

Rather than use liquid and aerosol insecticides or other DIY products that often result in scattering these ants, contact Greenway Pest for help. Our local pest control pros have the knowledge, tools, and experience to exterminate odorous house ants that have taken up residence in your home or business.

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