Odorous House Ants

What do odorous house ants look like?

Odorous house ants are a small species of ant. Adults only grow to between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch in length.  They have an uneven shaped thorax when viewed from the side and are dark brown to black.  The best way to identify this species is not by looks, but by smell.  Odorous house ants give off a very potent smell when they are crushed; most people describe the smell as a rotting coconut.

Where do odorous house ants nest?

Whether inside or outside, odorous house ants like to nest near areas of moisture.  Outside odorous house ants tend to create their nests in exposed, moist soil or underneath rocks, logs, mulch, or piles of firewood.  Inside homes and other buildings, these ants create nests in wall voids, near pipes, close to leaky fixtures, behind paneling, under carpets, or even in the soil of potted plants.

Are odorous house ants dangerous?

Odorous house ants aren’t particularly dangerous. They are generally considered to be a nuisance pest.  They will forage for and contaminate food stored within your home. Odorous house ants prefer to feed on sweets, but won’t shy away from meats and grease.  Once inside a home they may create nesting areas, and become very difficult to get rid of.

How do odorous house ants differ from carpenter ants?

The most obvious difference between the two species is size: odorous house ants are much smaller than the carpenter ant.  The most important difference between the two, though, is that odorous house ants are considered nuisance ants, while carpenter ants are wood damaging insects.  

Both species can be found nesting in areas where there is moisture present or where moisture has damaged wood. However, carpenter ants will actually invade and create tunnels and nesting areas within structural wood which can lead to severe and costly damages.  Odorous house ants simply nest behind wooden structures, walls, or underneath flooring and do not cause structural damage.

Odorous house ant control

Odorous house ants and other types of ants are difficult to get rid of on your own; it is always safer, faster, and more effective to get help eliminating pests with the help of a professional pest control company like Pine State Pest Solutions.  Serving Auburn and Southern and Central Maine, our team has the knowledge and tools to control ants that have infested your property. 

If odorous house ants have invaded your home or property call Pine State Pest Solutions today!

Odorous house ant prevention tips

Implementing a year-round pest control program is the most effective way to prevent odorous house ants (and all types of ants for that matter).  We also recommend the following prevention tips: 

  • Do not store woodpiles inside your home, garage or against an exterior wall.  Rather place several feet away and up off the ground.

  • Store outdoor trash cans away from the perimeter of your house, preferably in a locking trash shed.

  • Trim back trees and branches away from the exterior of your home so ants can’t make a bridge.

  • Create a barrier made of crushed rock between your foundation and grass or mulch.

  • Seal cracks and crevices found on your home’s foundation, and seal the spaces found around pipes, wires, and other utilities that may be entering your home.

  • Install door sweeps underneath all exterior doors; caulking any gaps found around windows and doors.

  • Wash dishes after every meal to avoid stacks of dirty dishes in your kitchen.

  • Clean up spills and crumbs as soon as they become apparent.

  • Do not store open food on the counter but rather in the refrigerator or in sealed containers.


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