When identifying the Odorous House Ant, they have a consistent dark brown shade of coloring.  Their name comes from the odor that is released when they are crushed.  The odor smells akin to a coconut type of small.   They are less than 1/8” in length.  Note that this ant is often mistaken for Argentine Ant. 

The ants’ colony size can range anywhere from 2,000 workers to 10,000 workers.  The colonies typically contain several reproductive females.  Workers will generally forage for food sources during both the day and night to collect honeydew, one of the preferred food sources.  They will also feed on dead insects.  When foraging for food sources, the workers will create a trail that leads from the primary nesting site to the food source.  This trail may follow along electrical wires, over tree limbs, around the edges of a home, baseboards exterior walls or even counter tops.   

When reviewing the nesting habits of this ant species, it is important to note that this ant species is opportunistic is nest selection.  When they are found nesting in loose soil, the nesting site is typically shallow and located just beneath an object like a piece of wood or stones.  Some favorite nesting sites include stacked firewood, stacked bricks or stones, lumber and cardboard. 

When these ants nest indoors, their nests are typically associated to some type of high moisture issue.  Such as wall voids that contain water pipes, heaters, bath traps, beneath toilets or previous termite damaged wood. 

What do I need to know about Odorous House Ants as a homeowner?

The Odorous House Ant is quickly becoming a serious pest problem for the homeowners in New Jersey.  They don’t bite or cause damage to wood like termites, but their vast numbers and swarming volumes can create a considerable pest problem when they are discovered indoors.