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Odorous House Ant

By Chris Williams on July 22, 2015.

odorous house antCommon names don’t always adequately describe the species they represent, but the common name for the ant species Tapinoma sessile is right on the money. The odorous house ant gets its name from the odd smelling odor it gives off when crushed. It has been described as smelling like bad coconut. I’m not sure about that one. I think of it is an oddly sweet, moldy type of smell. Okay, maybe moldy coconut works! Here is an FYI for you. Some have likened the odor to blue cheese, rancid butter, or some types of spray cleaners.

Odorous house ant workers are all 1/16inch long, dark brown to black in color, with a single node (like the carpenter ant) that is obscured by the abdomen. This ant is highly adaptable and will nest under stones, in soil, decaying stumps and occasionally inside homes. I once tripped over a stump of a shrub that had begun to rot while servicing an account and thousands of odorous house ants poured out of their now damaged home. Odorous house ant workers are fairly fast moving and forage for all types of food. Sweets are preferred, but they’ll feed on any type of protein sources including other live insects.

Having observed actively trailing odorous house ants a few times in my own kitchen, it is no secret why they are a major headache for many homeowners. They are an incredibly annoying. If you are experiencing problems with odorous house ant, please contact our office and ask about our semi-annual service.

Photo: Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

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