Odorous House Ant

Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Small; brown or black. Produces a “rotten coconut” smell when they are crushed; hence the name.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Attracted to moisture. Wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats.

Habits:

  • Invades homes, nesting inside wall voids near heat sources.
  • Prefers sweets but will eat almost any household food that is left out in the open.
  • They invade structures during heavy rains when the honeydew of plants is washed away.
Category:

Odorous House Ants in Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM

Odorous house ants are a common household pest in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque area. Named for their offensive odor, these ants produce a rotten, coconut-like odor when crushed. Odorous house ants can develop large colonies with multiple queens that split to form subcolonies, called “budding.” In addition, odorous house ants are quite tolerant of related subcolonies, allowing them to control large areas quickly. Also known as sugar ants, they prefer to eat the honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. However, they can become a pest issue as they invade homes during heavy rains when the honeydew of plants is washed away. 

Odorous House Ant Habitat

The odorous house ant is extremely resilient and can live in a variety of environments. Outdoors, they are often found under stones, logs, planters, or under stacks of firewood. When looking for a suitable nesting site, odorous house ants prefer areas near moisture—wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats for them. They most often make their way inside looking for food, which is why they are typically found in kitchens. Searching for food night and day, odorous ants invade insulation, window frames, electrical sockets, walls, and plumbing areas in kitchens and bathrooms.

Odorous House Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although they do not sting or bite, as they forage into kitchens and food prep areas, odorous house ants contaminate food. Through the budding process, odorous house ant colonies can grow to have thousands of individuals, making then difficult to control. Using trails that start outside of the structure, ants access homes through gaps and cracks, spoiling stored foods. When foraging for food, workers and scout ants lay down a chemical trail of pheromones between their nest and food sources. As ants follow the scent trail and access homes, they invade homes in large numbers. If an odorous house ant issue is suspected, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact New Mexico Pest Control today!