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Odorous House Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ – 1/8″ long

Characteristics: Small; brown or black in color. When crushed, they leave a “rotten coconut” smell.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Attracted to moisture. Prefer outdoor nests but will also nest in wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood.


  • Will nest inside homes in wall voids near heat sources.
  • Prefers to eat sweets but will eat almost any household food.
  • Enters structures during and after heavy rains when the honeydew of plants has washed away.

Odorous House Ants in Salina

Odorous house ants get their name from the rotten, coconut-like odor they emit when crushed. These ants are not aggressive, and actually cooperate with other ants, which allows them to dominate areas they invade. Also known as sugar ants, odorous house ants prefer to nest outdoors and feed on honeydew secreted by aphids and mealybugs. But when there’s rainy weather, the honeydew might be washed away, so they’re more likely to come inside homes to look for food.

Odorous House Ant Habitat

Odorous house ants move nests frequently and can survive in a variety of environments. In selecting a site, the odorous house ant will construct a nest in shallow soil beneath an object like a board or stone. Lumber, firewood, bricks, rocks, and cardboard are also favored nesting sites. Indoors, odorous house ants prefer areas near moisture—wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats for them. When they venture out to find resources, they can often be found in kitchens and food prep areas.

Odorous House Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Odorous house ants actually prefer to be outdoors, but will forage into homes to find food, especially during rainy weather. As they search for food indoors, they establish trails. Ant workers and scouts leave invisible scent trails from the discovered food source back to their nest, allowing hundreds of workers to find their way back. Odorous house ants do not bite or sting but will easily contaminate human food supplies.

If an odorous house ant infestation is suspected, we recommend contacting a professional ant exterminator.

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