The odorous house ant is just one species of many ants. They had their name coined from the pungent odor of "rotten coconut" that is emitted when they are crushed. Odorous house ants are native to the United States and can be found all over the country.
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Odorous house ant workers are all monomorphic. Monomorphic worker ants mean that worker ants are all of one form and one size. They are about 2.4 - 3.25 mm long and their bodies are a uniform brown to black color. They do not possess stingers. Lastly, odorous house ants receive their name from a unique characteristic. They will emit a "rotten-coconut like" odor when they are crushed.
Colonies are able to contain up to an unbelievable 100,000 ants. Each colony has many queens. If there is a dependable food source nearby, there are also possibilities of super colonies which are small individual colonies that interconnect. Super colonies will exist where there is not only food, but a dependable water source and where brood can be exchanged between main locations. When you are searching for the nest of odorous house ants outdoors, you may be able to locate nests in the soil, usually located under objects like fallen trees. When colonies become too large, odorous house ants begin to invade houses and buildings. This also means they will forage indoors for food because natural food sources and water sources have become too scarce. Also, extreme weather conditions, like dry spells as a result of drought or flooding, will force odorous house ants to invade the inside of homes and other structures. Indoors, nests will often be found in the wall voids. Typically, they can be found nears areas that are warm like hot water pipes and heaters. Odorous house ants in the house will also be found in cracks and crevices near sinks and cabinets in the bathroom or kitchen.
When odorous ants are foraging for food inside the home or a building, they prefer to feed on sweet foods. However, they are not limited to a sweet diet. They will also forage for foods that have a high protein content. They also look for greasy foods like meats and cheese. They also feed on nuts, bread, and honey. However, food that is high in protein, greasy, or savory is only dictated by what are necessary for colony requirements at that certain point in time. Outdoors, odorous ants will feed on almost anything. They can kill and eat small insects, honeydew, seeds, other plant sap and secretions. They also feed on meats, nuts, honey and other sweet materials. Odorous house ants will travel distances that are as long as thirty feet to forage for food.
For most ant species, ant control will be the most effective only after the nest is located. This will apply for odorous ant control as well. Whether they are infesting indoors or a nuisance outdoors, finding their nest or breeding site will be crucial for a complete odorous house ant elimination. You will be able to locate their nest when you closely observe them. It may take some time and patience, however, odorous house ants will leave a trail that will lead directly to their nest. Odorous house ant nests must be directly and thoroughly treated with a type of liquid concentrate or a wet-able powder insecticide that has a contact kill effect.
Outdoor odorous house ant control will consist of completing a perimeter or a barrier treatment. This will utilize liquid insecticides that are sprayed around the perimeter of the house. All entry points should be a point of target as well when a perimeter, barrier treatment is done. A spot treatment to all entry points will focus on targeting areas like window and door frames, any cracks or crevices, and also any utility pipes that lead indoors. Once a liquid insecticide barrier is set up around the structure of your home or any other building, baits must be used to further protect your home or building. Ant bait stations, ant bait gels, and ant granular insect baits are available. Apply all baits close to entry points as well as in areas that are close to the nest or potential water and food sources. You may also apply ant baits directly along ant trails. Odorous house ants are known for changing their diet quickly and without any warning, therefore, you may need to change ant bait formulations according to how they are changing their diet.
Indoor treatment will focus on a wall void dust treatment. Odorous house ants will most likely be nesting inside the wall void area, therefore areas like outside the ground-floor walls and interior walls should be treated with ant killer. This will most likely be a insecticide dust that can be injected into the wall void area via access points like cracks and crevices, utility or plumbing pipes, and electrical outlets.
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