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Ants (Odorous House Ants)
Ants (Odorous House Ants)

Ants (Odorous House Ants)


  • Size: 1/16 to 1/8 inch.
  • Color: brown to black.
  • Thorax without spiny projections.
  • One node between the thorax and abdomen, hidden by the rest of the abdomen.
  • Produce a distinctive sweet, acrid smell when crushed.
  • Workers run around with abdomens sticking up in the air when disturbed.

Habits of Odorous House Ants:

  • Form colonies by swarming (May – mid-July) and budding.
  • Single or multiple-queen colonies; 10,000+ workers.
  • Life span of workers and queens: several years.
  • Prefer sweets.
  • Enter structures after rain washes off plant honeydew.

Damage From Odorous Ants:

  • Possible contamination of food and food preparation surfaces.
  • Nuisance.

Look for:

  • Nests outdoors under stones, logs, and in the nests of larger ants.
  • Nests indoors within wall or floor voids, around heat sources, (e.g., hot water pipes and heaters, crevices around sinks and cabinets, etc).

How to Control and Kill Odorous Ants:

  • Cracks and gaps in exterior walls which provide access to voids or interior areas should be sealed.
  • Debris around the exterior of the structure and other items on the ground where ants nest should be removed.
  • Baits should be placed where ant trails have been established and in locations where the ants have been sighted.
  • Unless using containerized baits indoors, baits should be placed so they are inaccessible to children and pets.
  • Sweet baits are the most effective, but if acceptance is low, use of a protein bait should be considered.
  • Exterior nests should be drenched with a liquid formulation.
  • Nests within wall voids are more easily treated by aerosol injection or application of a dust formulation.
  • When the nests can not be located, a barrier spray should be applied to foundations and the soil immediately adjacent to the building.
  • Controlling aphids on ornamental plants and trees around structures removes one of the ant’s primary food sources.

Innovative Pest Management serves the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland area. Call us at (240) 755-0077 to schedule a free quote or appointment.