Odorous House Ants
The house nuisance you may be overlooking
Why are they called Odorous House ants?
This may seem like one of those nicknames a bully gave a middle school kid after one isolated BO incident and now no one will let it go but, the worker species of his species actually emits a rotten coconut like odor when crushed or stepped on. That’s why they’re also known as stink ants and coconut ants, so, is not just a bad case of having a terrible PR manager.
With a size around ⅛ inch long and black or dark brown color, this type of ant is known for being opportunistic and comfortable installing themselves near humans so they can forage for food you drop around the house (they’re prone to sweets but will eat pretty much anything they can find) and escape poor weather conditions. It Is common for them to have a supercolony and several satellite colonies around the house.
Where should I look for Odorous House ants around my house?
They can nest almost anywhere. These insects are capable of physically carrying their eggs, and pupas rapidly to new locations if the main colony gets threatened. That is why you may find little satellite locations in small voids, especially around hot water pipes and heaters, window frames and insulation, crevices around sinks and cupboards. They also love to nest between sheets so it is not uncommon to find them while changing linen in between seasons.
Why do Odorous House ants come inside the house?
Odorous ants are very adaptable and even though they can live and nest outside, if the weather gets extreme, let say rain floods their colony, they will pack up their stuff and move to a dryer space. That's why they are more likely to come inside after heavy rains. Not only they’ll find a safe space without chippin’ in on the rent, they will also gain access to an endless food and water supply so, what's not to like?
Preventing ants from living inside is very difficult because it is not only a factor of being clean or keeping food sealed. Since foraging ants move very quickly while settling, it is likely you won't even notice them until you already have a full size colony and several satellites running shop in your place.
They seem harmless, why should I get rid of them?
I mean, it is not like all humans have megalomaniac instincts and feel the need to dominate all spaces at all times, right? Can’t we share our homes? Have we succumbed to grandiose delusions?
Whoa, that got intense for a second… But, hear me out: even though odorous ants do not pose a threat for themselves, they can be all over your food. Not only does that mean you may have to throw away the cereal your kids left open in the cupboard (again), but since ants are as dirty as the places they’ve been, they can carry undesirable bacteria and even salmonella, so they can contaminate food.
That is why restaurants and other food handling businesses have to treat regularly to prevent the undesirable outcome of getting customers sick because of ants.
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