Last updated on November 3rd, 2017
Odorous house ants get their name from the fact that they tend to produce bad odor when attacked. There are different methods through which one can get rid of these ants including killing them using baits. For any control method to be effective, it requires one to know some odorous ants’ facts.
- Odorous House Ants
- How to Get Rid of Odorous House Ants – Odorous House Ant Control
- How to Kill Odorous House Ants
- Odorous House Ants Bait
Odorous House Ants
Once in a while when we are agitated by ants, we end up crashing them with our feet. This, by the way, is not recommended as it could be a fire ant whose sting is quite painful and poisonous. Ever done that and regretted your action soon after as it emitted a certain odor characteristic of rotten coconuts? Then you have encountered the odorous house ant and can understand why it goes by that name.Odorous House Ants
These insects are found in different parts of our homes. Their nests are shallow forcing them to escape into the houses in case there are heavy rains. The ants have a tendency of travelling in lines. This is enabled by the fact that they leave behind some chemical scent that enables other ants to follow.
However, in case they get alarmed or are disturbed, they are quick to break ranks and erratically run around. As they escape, they tend to release their bad odor. Some people equate this to the pine scent but a majority agree it is like that of rotten coconuts.
These ants are also unique by the way they move their homes. In the summer, they tend to move their nests as frequently as every three weeks. This is despite the fact that they exist in populations of thousands and in multiple colonies.
There are some ants that have wings while others do not. The males tend to have wings which they shed after mating and die sometime after that. In early summer and in spring, they swarm to mate. After this the female either returns to the colony to lay the eggs or they may choose to venture out and start a new colony.
Although they can eat any kind of food, they are most attracted by sweet things such as pastries and juices. This makes them get confused with sugar ants at time. They can nest in most places including in debris, logs, mulch birds’ nests, under-stones, window frames and on walls. This means they can be found both indoors and outdoors.
Just like most ants, the odorous ants live in colonies. A colony may have more than two queen ants for every 1000 worker ants there are. It is the queens that reproduce the workers and reproductive ants in thousands. Foraging for foods is done during day and night. In the outdoors, the honey dew produced by mealy bugs and aphids is a favorite. They therefore protect these insects making their elimination hard.
Since honey dew production decreases during autumn, the ants tend to move indoors. In the indoors, they will go for any type of food. In case there is a threat of a predator, the ants are seen moving very fast with their abdomens raised in the air. The sign for an infestation is the presence of worker ants foraging and at times winged swarmers could be observed.
What Are Odorous House Ants – Look, Image, Description
Odorous house ants goes by the scientific name Tapinoma sessile. It is also known as the coconut ant or the stink ant. This small ant measures between 2.4 mm to 3.3 mm. it is either dark brown or black and has one node on the petiole which is normally hidden by their abdomen.
The thorax is unevenly shaped if looked at from the side. When their bodies are crashed, they emit the smell of rotten coconuts and this is their most certain distinguishing characteristic. The ants can be found nesting in different localities and situations. They tend to invade buildings during the rainy weather.
Odorous House Ants Facts
Although a lot of ants have a lot of characteristics that are common amongst themselves, the odorous house ants have some facts that act as their distinguishing characteristics. We sample some of these below.
- The odorous house ant develops through a complete metamorphosis. This means they go through various stages which are from an egg, to Larva to pupa and finally to an adult.
- The above development is affected by a number of things and can take anywhere between 34 and 83 days.
- When crushed they emit an odor similar to that of rotten coconuts which is how they got their name.
- Since they forage inside homes, they could easily contaminate food.
- The ants do not bite or sting
- They are easily driven away by the presence of Argentine ants.
- The use of residual sprays on the ants stresses the colonies. This causes them to split up forming other subcolonies as they scatter. This is referred to as budding which increases the number of colonies thus compounding the problem.
- Their bad smell acts as a defense mechanism to warn other ants that something is amiss.
Odorous House Ant Queen
There are two ways of creating new colonies within the odorous house ant kingdom. One is where by reproductive females and winged males will swarm out the nest and mate. Swarming is common during the summer. Another way would be when a queen and some worker ants bud off to form a new colony away from the main one.
How to Get Rid of Odorous House Ants – Odorous House Ant Control
For effective control of odorous house ants, one has to start by identifying where the ants are originating from. This can be achieved by frequently and carefully observing their trails. Once this has been done, it becomes easy to get rid of the ants. The next step in controlling the infestation is by keeping them out of the home. With odorous ants, what one should do when they suspect an infestation is:
- To discourage entrance of the ants from outside seal all crevices and gaps to rid them off their access points.
- Trim all shrubs and trees. This is necessary as the ants use them as an access point by climbing through them and finding cracks and crevices through which to enter your home.
- After feeding the pets, avoid leaving the food in the bowls as this could serve as an easy attractant of the ants and insects.
- Store food in tightly covered packs and ensure surfaces are kept clean and free of spillages.
How to Kill Odorous House Ants
There are different methods that can be used to kill odorous house ants. This though may be hard as a method of control as it requires elimination of the whole population including the queen ants. Among the different ways to kill the odorous house ants include:
This will only provide a temporary solution as it only kills the present worker ants. Other ants will still appear by following the scent trail left behind by the initial set of ants. The best type of spray to use would be non-repellent ones such as Taurus SC. Residual sprays are not recommended for these ants.
2. Perimeter treatment
Applying an appropriate insecticide on the perimeter as well as on the siding will help keep the ants from crawling into the home. This can be done by a professional pest controller.
3. Nest treatment
This is the most effective mode of killing the odorous ants. One has to identify their nest and treat it using pesticides. Where there are multiple colonies, one has to identify all the nests for effective control.
Odorous House Ants Bait
One way of getting rid of odorous house ants is through the use of baits. These are the best option, most reliable and are readily available in garden and home stores. The choice of bait one settles for important if they are to be effective in controlling an infestation. The best way to achieve effectiveness is to understand their nutritional needs. This is why it is important to try out the various baits. Sugar, protein and grease based baits are the best.
The baits are placed on the trails that the ants follow when travelling. One could also monitor areas of high activity and place the baits there. This is important as the ants tend to lay down chemical trails of a substance known as pheromones between the nest and food source. This enables other ants to keep following and to identify the source of food.
When baiting, one has to be patient. One may have to try different types of baits using different attractants. The best are the slow acting ones to ensure that the ant carries it to the nest for the purposes of feeding the colony. Once the workers feed on the bait, they store it in their body, take it to the colony back in the nest where they regurgitate it for the queen and her young ones to feed. This takes care not only of the worker ants but the queens left in the nests thus eliminating the whole colony.
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