Odorous house ants, scientifically known as Tapinoma sessile, are a common nuisance pest species found in many parts of the world. Despite their small size, these ants can become problematic when they infest homes and other structures. Here is a description of odorous house ants as pests:
Size: Odorous house ants are relatively small, typically measuring about 2.4 to 3.3 millimeters in length.
Color: They are brown to black in color, and their bodies are segmented, with a single node between their thorax and abdomen.
Odor: One of the distinctive features of odorous house ants is the unpleasant, rotting coconut or blue cheese-like odor they emit when crushed. This odor is how they got their common name.
Habitat and Behavior:
Nesting: These ants prefer nesting in moist or damp areas, which is why they are often found in or around kitchens and bathrooms. They build their nests in wall voids, under sinks, in basements, and in other hidden spaces.
Foraging: Odorous house ants are opportunistic feeders and are attracted to sugary substances, proteins, and a wide range of human foods. They forage for food both indoors and outdoors, leaving scent trails to guide other ants to food sources.
Colony Structure: Odorous house ants live in colonies that can range in size from a few hundred to tens of thousands of individuals. Colonies typically have multiple queens.
Problems Caused by Odorous House Ants:
Food Contamination: These ants can contaminate food items, as they can easily access kitchen pantries and food storage areas.
Structural Damage: While they don't cause structural damage like termites, their nesting activities within wall voids and other areas can be a nuisance.
Allergies: Odorous house ants can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals through contact with their saliva or body parts.
Control and Prevention:
Eliminating Food Sources: Good sanitation practices, such as sealing food containers and cleaning up crumbs and spills, can help deter odorous house ants.
Sealing Entry Points: Identifying and sealing entry points where ants may be gaining access to your home can prevent infestations.
Professional Pest Control: In cases of severe infestations, it may be necessary to consult with a pest control professional who can use bait traps, insecticides, and other control methods to manage the ant population.
Addressing Moisture Issues: Reducing excess moisture in and around your home can make the environment less attractive to these ants.