There is nothing more disconcerting for homeowners than the sight of ants in their homes. And with over 10,000 varieties of ants around the globe, there are a plethora of chances for homeowners to feel the fear of these tiny creatures. When it comes to odorous house ants, when you spot one, there are thousands and thousands that are not far behind. Odorous house ants go after sweet treats in your house, and have a telltale rotten coconut smell when crushed. Steering clear of this nuisance is definitely in your best interest, so read on to see how you can avoid a colony of odorous house ants infiltrating your space.
How can I identify them?
Although you might think that all ants look alike, there are definite differences between different species. Odorous house ants feature dark brown or black bodies that have an unevenly shaped thorax and they are approximately ⅛ inch in length. Odorous house ants, as their name suggests, are also known by the odor of rotten coconut that is dispatched when they are crushed.
What is their growth and development like?
Odorous house ants go through a complex life cycle, including egg, larva, and pupa stages, on the way to becoming a full adult. Many variables, such as temperature and time of year, affect an ant’s life cycle, but it customarily lasts between 34 to 83 days. Depending on the nesting habits of the ants that may have entered your home or business, you might have ants in egg or larva stages and not even realize it.
What do they want?
Ants have a one track mind. And speaking of one-track, you will see these ants marching in a neat little line, with the exception of when they become frightened and start running randomly all around. These ants, as a rule, are supremely dedicated to finding food and moisture. To that end, they are drawn to sources of moisture in your home or office, such as hot water pipes, heaters, and beneath leaky pipes or sink fixtures, as well as to sugary treats. They are attracted to sweet food, such as fruit juices and pastries, but will also eat just about anything they can find around your house. Dead organic matter and grease also top their food lists. If they are outside, they gravitate toward flowers and buds and aphid honeydew to snack on.
Where do they live?
Not surprisingly, odorous house ants live in colonies like the rest of the ant world. With two or more queens and over 100,000 worker ants, the queens also create hundreds of reproductives. In the summer, winged male and female reproductives take off and the fertilized female can establish a new colony. Sometimes, a new colony comes about when a queen and her workers break off from the initial colony.
Odorous ants are famous for moving their nests frequently, as the need arises, such as when they experience a torrential rain and get flooded out. Inside your house, they create nests that will keep them close to sources of heat and moisture, or also near wood that has been previously damaged by termites. Outside of your house, they might nest in firewood, in a pile of mulch, or under rocks.
How can I prevent odorous house ants?
There are several ways to prevent odorous house ants, and it is certainly much easier to prevent them, than to deal with them once they penetrate your house. Since they love moisture, eliminate standing water and wipe up any spills immediately. They also crave sugar, so make sure you clean up crumbs and keep a tidy kitchen and pantry area to avoid them finding what they desire.
Additionally, make sure there is no easy access to your home, by filling in cracks in the foundation and cutting back branches that are close to your house. Finally, ensure that you don’t store piles of stones, wood, or other building materials near your home. This just gives the ants an easy place to build a nest, and brings them closer to your home.
How problematic are these pests?
When homeowners see ants, they automatically fear the worst. But although odorous house ants are annoying, they do not spread disease or bite humans, so that is a plus. They do, however, wreak havoc with pantries and other food supplies and contaminate the food in your homes.
How can I treat an odorous house ant infestation?
If your prevention methods have not been successful and you find yourself with a colony of odorous house ants in your residence, there are several ways to treat the problem. First, homeowners can treat their ant colony problem by placing sweet bait traps around the area where they have seen the ants. The ants will take the bait back to the colony, and the ants will begin to die off. Unfortunately, this can take several weeks to begin working, and you need to be very careful that young children or pets cannot get to the bait in the meantime.
Because of the time and hassle involved in treating an ant infestation, especially if you have young children or pets running around, it’s smart to let the experts handle an odorous house ant infestation. We will take the worry off your plate, and get the ants out of your pantry. Contact us today for a free estimate, and sleep easier knowing that your food supply is not contaminated by odorous house ants.