How to Get Rid of Odorous House Ants


Ant Pest ControlAnts are Social Insects of the family Formicidae, and along with the related wasps and bees, they belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. Today more than 12,000 species of ants are classified. It is estimated to be more than 14,000 species. Ants are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist.

Ant Colonies

Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organized colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of “workers”, “soldiers”, or other specialized groups. Ant colonies also have some fertile males called “drones” and one or more fertile males called “queens”.
Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15-25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. Their success has been attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves.
Ant societies have division of labor, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study.

Ant Locations

Ants are found on all continents except Antarctica and only a few large islands such as Greenland , Iceland , parts of Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands lack native ant species. Ants occupy a wide range of ecological niches, and are able to exploit a wide range of food resources wither as direct or indirect herbivores, predators and scavengers. Most species are omnivorous generalists but a few are specialist feeders. Their ecological dominance may be measured by their biomass, and estimates in different environments suggest that they contribute 15-20% (on average and nearly 25% in the tropics) of the total terrestrial animal biomass, which exceeds that of the vertebrates.

Ant Appearance

Ants range in size from 0.75 to 52 millimeters. Their colors vary; most are red or black, green in less common, and some tropical species have a metallic luster. Taxonomic studies continue to resolve the classification and systematic of ants. Online databases of ant species, including Ant Base and the Hymenoptera Name Server, help to keep track of the known and newly described species. The relative ease with which ants can be sampled and studied in ecosystems has made them useful as indicator species in biodiversity studies.

Ants are distinct in their morphology from other insects in having elbowed antennae, metapleural glands, and a strong constriction of their second abdominal segment into a node-like petiole. The head, mesosoma and metasoma or gaster are three distinct body segments. The petiole forms a narrow waist between their mesosoma ( thorax plus the first abdominal segment, which is fused to it) and gaster (abdomen less the abdominal segments in the petiole). The petiole can be formed by one or two nodes (the second alone, or the second and third abdominal segments).

Ants Life Cycle

Like other insects, ants have an exoskeleton, an external covering that provides a protective casing around the body and a point of attachment for muscles, in contrast to the internal skeletons of humans and other vertebrates. Insects do not have lungs; oxygen and other gases like carbon dioxide pass through their exoskeleton through tiny valves called spiracles. Insects also lack closed blood vessels; instead, they have a long, thin, perforated tube along the top of the body (called the “dorsal aorta”) that functions like a hear, and pumps haemolymph toward the head, thus driving the circulation of the internal fluids. The nervous system consists of a ventral nerve cord that runs the length of the body, with several ganglia and branches along the way reaching into the extremities of the appendages.


An ant’s head contains many sensory organs. Like most insects, ants have compound eyes made from numerous tiny lenses attached together. Ants’ eyes are good for acute movement detection but do not give a high resolution. They also have three small oceli (simple eyes) on the top of the head that detect light levels and polarization. Compared to vertebrates, most ants have poor- to-mediocre eyesight and a few subterranean species are completely blind. Some ants such as Australia’s bulldog ant, however, have exceptional vision. Two antennae (“feelers”) are attached to the head; they are also used to transmit and receive signals through touch. The head has two strong jaws, the mandibles, used to carry food, manipulate objects, construct nests, and for defense. In some species a small pocket (infrabuccal chamber) inside the mouth stores food, so it can be passed to other ants or their larvae.
All six legs are attached to the mesosoma (“thorax”). A hooked claw at the end of each leg helps ants to climb and hang onto surfaces, Most queens and male ants have wings; queens shed the wings after the nuptial flight, leaving visible stubs, a distinguishing feature of queens. However, wingless queens (ergatoids) and males occur in a few species.
The metasoma (the “abdomen”) of the ant houses important internal organs. Including those of the reproductive, respiratory (tracheae) and excretory systems. Workers of many species have their egg-laying structures modified into stings that are used for subduing prey and defending their nests.

Ants Life Time/ Roles

Ant’s life starts from an egg. IF the egg is fertilized, the progeny will be female (diploid); if not, it will be male (haploid). Ants develop by complete metamorphosis with the larval stages passing through a pupal stage before emerging as an adult. The larva is largely immobile and is fed and cared for by workers. Food is given to the larvae by trophallaxis , a process in which an ant regurgitates liquid food held in the “social stomach”, among themselves. Larvae may also be provided with solid food such as trophic eggs, pieces of prey and seeds brought back by foraging workers and may even be transported directly to captured pry in some species. The larvae grow through a series of moults and enter the pupal stage. The pupa has the appendages free and not fused to the body as in a butterfly pupa. The differentiation into queens and workers (which are both female), and different castes of worker (when they exist), is determined by the nutrition the larvae obtain. Larvae and pupae need to be kept at fairly constant temperatures to ensure proper development, and so are often moved around the various brood chambers within the colony.

Worker Ants Role

A new worker spends the first few days of its adult life caring for the queen and young. It then graduates to digging and other nest work, and later to defending the nest and foraging. These changes are sometimes fairly sudden, and define what are called temporal castes. An explanation for the sequence is suggested by the high casualties involved in foraging, making it an acceptable risk only for ants that are older and are likely to die soon of natural causes.
Most ant species have a system in which only the queen and breeding females have the ability to mate. Contrary to popular belief, some ant nests have multiple queens while other can exist without queens. Workers with the ability to reproduce are called “gamergates” and colonies with queens are said to be queen right. The winged male ants, called drones, emerge from pupae along with the breeding females, and do nothing in life except eat and mate. During the short breeding period, the reproductives, excluding the colony queen, are carried outside where other colonies of similar species are doing the same. Then, all the winged breeding ants take flight. Mating occurs in flight and the males die shortly afterwards. Females of some species mate with multiple males. Mated females then seek a suitable place to begin a colony. There, they break off their wings and begin to lay and care for eggs. The females store the sperm they obtain during their nuptial flight to selectively fertilise future eggs. The first workers to hatch are weak and smaller than later workers, but they begin to serve the colony immediately. They enlarge the nest, forage for food and care for the other eggs. This is how new colonies start in most species. Species that have multiple queens may have a queen leaving the nest along with some workers to found a colony at a new site a process akin to swarming in honeybees.
Ant colonies can be long-lived. The queens can live for up to 30 years, and workers live from 1 to 3 years. Males, however, are more transitory, and survive only a few weeks. Ant queens are estimated to live 100 times longer than solitary insects of a similar size.

Queen Ants

Ant queens are estimated to live 100 times longer than solitary insects of a similar size, while in others, the adults alone pass the winter in a state of reduced activity.


Ants communicate with each other using pheromones. These chemical signals are more developed in ants than in other hymenopteran groups. Like other insects, ants perceive smells with their long, thin and mobile antennae. The paired antennae provide information about the direction and intensity of scents. Since most ants live on the ground, they use the soil surface to leave pheromone trails that can be followed by other ants. In species that forage in groups, a forager that finds food marks a trail on the way back to the colony; this trail is followed by other ants, these ants then reinforce the trail when they head back with food to the colony. When the food source is exhausted, no new trails are marked by returning ants and the scent slowly dissipates. This behavior helps ants deal with changes in their environment. For instance, when an established path to a food source is blocked by an obstacle, the foragers leave the path to explore new routes. If an ant is successful, it leaves a new trail marking the shortest route on its return. Successful trails are followed by more ants, reinforcing better routes and gradually finding the best path.
Ants use pheromones for more than just making trails. A crushed ant emits an alarm pheromone that sends nearby ants into an attack frenzy and attracts more ants from further away. Several ant species even use “propaganda pheromones” to confuse enemy ants and make them fight among themselves. Pheromones are produced by a wide range of structures including Dufour’s glands, poison glands and glands on the hindgut, pygidium, rectum, sternum and hind tibia. Pheromones are also exchanged mixed with food and passed by trophallaxis, transferring information within the colony. This allows other ants to detect what task group other colony members belong to. In ant species with queen castes, workers begin to raise new queens in the colony when the dominant queen stops producing a specific pheromone.
Some ants produce sounds by stridulation, using the gaster segments and their mandibles. Sounds may be used to communicate with colony members or with other species.


Ants attack and defend themselves by biting and, in many species, by stinging, often injecting or spraying chemicals like formic acid. Bullet ants (Paraponera), located in Central and South America, are considered to have the most painful sting of any insect, although it is usually not fatal to humans. This sting is given the highest rating on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The sting of Jack jumper ants can be fatal, and an antivenin has been developed. Fire Ants are unique in having a poison sac containing piperidine alkaloids. Their stings are painful and can be dangerous to hypersensitive people.
In addition to defense against predators, ants need to protect their colonies from pathogens. Some worker ants maintain the hygiene of the colony from pathogens. Some worker ants maintain the hygiene of the colony and their activities include undertaking or necrophory, the disposal of dead nest- mates. Oleic Acid has been identified as the compound released by dead ants that triggers undertaking behavior in Atta Mexicana.
Nests may be protected from physical threats such as flooding and over-heating by elaborate nest architecture. Workers of Cataulacus muticus, an arboreal species that lives in plant hollows, respond to flooding by drinking water inside the nest, and excreting it outside.

Ants Techniques

Many animals can learn behaviors by imitation but ants may be the only group apart from mammals where interactive teaching has been observed. A knowledgeable forager of Temnothorax albipennis leads a navie nest mate to newly discovered food by the excruciatingly slow process of tandem running. The follower obtains knowledge through its leading tutor. Both leader and follower are acutely sensitive to the progress of their partner with the leader slowing down when the follower lags, and speeding up when the follower gets too close.
Controlled experiments with colonies of Cerapachys biroi suggest that individuals may choose nest roles based on their previous experience. An entire generation of identical workers was divided into two groups whose outcome in food foraging was controlled. One group was continually rewarded with prey, while it was made certain that the other failed. As a result, members of the successful group intensified their foraging attempts while the unsuccessful group ventured out less and less. A month later, the successful foragers continued in their role while the others moved to specialize in brood care.
Controlled experiments with colonies of Cerapachys biroi suggest that individuals may choose nest roles based on their previous experience. An entire generation of identical workers was divided into two groups whose outcome in food foraging was controlled. One group was continually rewarded with prey, while it was made certain that the other failed. As a result, members of the successful group intensified their foraging attempts while the unsuccessful group intensified their foraging attempts while the unsuccessful group ventured out less and less. A month later, the successful foragers continued in their role while the others moved to specialize in brood care.

Dupont Advion Ant Bait Gel


For inside, spilled food and beverages will attract ants in, removing attracting food sources such as pet food and trash will reduce the chance of an ant infestation. For outside, check for any ants entry points that might let them come into the home, including cracks and crevices, doors, and windows.


To control ants, it is most often to recommend using baits. The 3 different types of baits are: granule, gel, and liquid. The granule and gel the ants will carry back to the colony to kill the entire colony as where liquid, it will rub on the ants’ body as it goes back to the colony to kill off the entire colony. Just spraying the surface will not kill the colony ants except for the one being sprayed at the time. Using baits will help kill off the colony. Even when you kill thousands of ants that are seen it is not effective because the ants will continue to exist if the colony is still existent. If the colony is not treated itself, the Queen ant will still be alive and continue to reproduce more ants.

You may take these steps to prevent Ant infestation:

  1. Correct moisture problems, roof leaks, and plumbing leaks
  2. Cut back tree limbs or branches that could serve as a bridge to your structure
  • Seal cracks and openings around the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
  • Firewood needs to be stacked away from the house, elevated off the ground if possible.
  • Crack and Crevice Treatments:
    This treatment is generally applied with a liquid spray (PHANTOM, FENVASTAR ECOCAP), dust (DELTA DUST), aerosol ( PRO CITRA DL, ALPINE AEROSOL), or certain bait formulas ( MAXFORCE ANT BAIT GEL, DUPONT ADVION ANT GEL BAIT) to be applied to small cracks and crevices in a structure where ants may enter, trail, or find harborage. For liquid spray application, you will need to have a pressure sprayer or a gallon sprayer . You will need to apply using the amount that is said on the label and may need to reapply if needed. You will have to use a low pressure system with a pinpoint or variable pattern nozzle to apply the spray mixture to areas such as floors, cracks and crevices in and around baseboards, walls, and expansion joints, areas around water and sewer pipes, and voids formed by equipment or appliances. The dust application is simple. However, when using dust please be cautious especially when children and pets are present. Use dust only in areas where they cannot reach. Both of the dusts, DELTA DUST, PYGANIC DUST, you will need to use a BELLOW BULB DUSTER . When using BELLOW BULB DUSTER forDELTA DUST. You will need to fill the duster with the dust as directed in the label and apply DELTA DUST to voids or channels in damaged wooden members of a structure, to cracks, spaces or bearing joints between the wooden members of a structure. Apply lightly and uniformly to infested area. DO NOT OVER USE DUST. For the use of PRO CITRA DL, ALPINE AEROSOL, as in all of the aerosol products, there are residual and non-residual products. We do not recommend that you spray residual aerosol products on surfaces such as mattresses, bed covers, furniture, and in open air because it can be harmful to certain humans who are allergic to certain chemicals and pets, that is why you would need to enclose the room for about 2-3 hours. You would need to apply aerosols as a crack and crevice treatment into cracks, crevices and voids, where ants may be traveling and/or harboring, including, but not limited to, around doors, window frames, wall voids and other structural cracks and crevices which can possibly count as an entry point.
Fenvastar Ecocap
Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer

These products can be used with this item:

Delta Dust
Bellow Bulb Duster

These products can be used with these items:

Alpine Aerosol CY-Kick Pro-Citra DL


Maxforce Ant Bait
Dupont Ant Bait

Broadcast Treatments:
This treatment is generally used for large turf or other landscape areas and contains directions for specific amounts of the product to be applied as a liquid spray (FENVASTAR ECOCAP, TERMINDOR SC), granule (TALSTAR EZ, BIFEN )or bait (ADVANCE 375A, MAXFORCE FIRE ANT BAIT) to a given area. Broadcast treatments are usually for the entire lawn. For this treatment we suggest a 1 gallon sprayer for the application of liquid spray . Following the directions on the label, you would spray the entire lawn with the solution. If you should find an ant mound, you should use more solution than the other areas in detail on the mound; a four foot diameter circle around the mound should also be treated. For the best results, you should apply in cool weather (65 – 80 F) or in early morning or late evening hours, because in high temperature, the solution will break down and the result will not be as effective. To use granule (TALSTAR EZ, BIFEN) we suggest that you use a handle spreader to apply it (HANDLE SPREADER).
You will need to follow the directions on the label on the amount that you should use. Then you will need to irrigate if the soil is not moist before application. For the use of bait, ADVANCE 375A, MAXFORCE FIRE ANT BAIT, you would not need a handle spreader for baits, you can just spread the bait using the container. You would need to apply this product as uniformly as possible, using the directions of the rate and amount needed on the label. Repeat application if it is necessary.

Fenvastar Ecocap

These products can be used with this item:

Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer
Talstar EZ
Handle Spreader

These products can be used with this item:

Advance 375A
Maxforce Fire Ant

Drench Treatments:

For this application, we suggest you use a gallon sprayer .
Mixing a liquid formula following label directions and then applying
the entire volume of the mixed liquid directly to the problem area such
It will take approximately 1-2 gallons of dilution for each mound area.
Spray the mound until wet and apply to a 4 foot diameter circle around
the mound. If the mounds are larger than 12″, use a higher volume.
Applications should be made in cool weather, as in early morning or
late evening hours, and not in the heat of the day because the solution
will breakdown and not be as effective.

Fenvastar Ecocap
Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer

Barrier Treatments:

This treatment is applying a
liquid spray, granular, or baits products to zone around a structure that any pest ant might enter the zone. These are sometimes called a perimeter treatments where soil areas are adjacent to a structure as well as a portion of the lower foundation wall next to the soil are treated ( SUSPEND SC, TERMINDOR SC).
Barrier treatments or Perimeter treatments are used just around the structure of your home to create a “barrier” for your home. We suggest that you use a gallon sprayer as well (CHAPIN 1 GALLON SPRAYER. Using the directions of the amount and the rate that you should use, you should treat a band 6 to 8 feet wide and next to the structure and the foundation of the structure to a height of 2 to 3 feet. For better results, you will need to use this treatment regularly to reduce the amount of insects and to keep your house insect free.

Suspend SC
Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer

Void Treatments:
This treatment is to be recommended to use when you have an infestation in an area that you cannot reach such as inside walls, blocks, or other structural voids to treat for ant activity within by drilling a small hole if needed; you can remove electric outlet cover and use the space to treat inside voids. Dust (DELTA DUST) and aerosol formula ( PRO CITRA DL, D- FORCE HPX) are generally preferred here. When using the void treatment and after drilling a hole or removing the electric outlet cover, you will insert the tip of the duster (BELLOW BULB DUSTER ) containing the dust (DELTA DUST) into the hole and use as directed. Using the aerosol formula ( PRO CITRA DL, D- FORCE HPX), be cautioned because aerosol is a liquid so do not use in electric outings, use only dust. You will just need to attach a thin straw to the nozzle depending on the product, and spray it into the void.

Pro-Citra DL Alpine Aerosol Delta Dust Bellow Bulb Duster

Advion Ant Bait Station

Date: Saturday, 2. January 2010 12:37
Feed for the post RSS 2.0 Comment this post

Submit comment