Like the Ghost ant, an Odorous ant emits an acrid, rotting coconut smell when crushed. This is what gives this stinky ant its name. You may hear the Odorous ant go by “odorous house ant,” “stink ant,” or “coconut ant.” This ant is between 1/16 and 1/8 inch long with a reddish-brown to black colored body. Antennae are segmented into twelve parts. Odorous ants have an unsymtricle thorax when looked at from the ide view and one node on their petiole. If the Odorous ant perceives a threat, it may move in quick motions while raising its abdomen in the air.
Odorous Ant Life Cycle
The Odorous ant is native to the U.S., found throughout the country.
These ants nest readily both indoors and outdoors. Inside, Odorous ants may nest in warm places: wall crevices, under carpets, near heaters or water pipes, beneath floors and even behind paneling. Outside the Odorous ant nests under rocks and soil but have been found to nest just about everywhere. Odorous ants leave trails up to 50 feet long that connect colonies to subcolonies or food sources. The colony of an Odorous ant is very large, sometimes containing as many as 10000 workers and several queens. A queen Odorous ant will produce thousands of worker ants and hundreds of reproductive ants in a reproductive cycle.
The Odorous ant’s diet consists mainly of the honeydew of aphids, and will even care for young aphids in order to harvest their honeydew. Other insects like mealybugs, whiteflies, and planthoppers are favorite sources of honeydew for the Odorous ant. The Odorous ant will also feed on anything sweet, including food items in your kitchen. It may also eat living or dead insects. The Odorous ant is a predator, scavenger, and forager and will search for food night and day.
How long will the typical Odorous ant live?
Queen Odorous ants lay as many as 30 eggs in one day, but on average lay one or two eggs a day. After eggs are laid in a newly formed nest, worker ants care for the larvae and adult ants emerge in about 38 days. Colonies of Odorous ants are anywhere from 100-10000 individuals. Queen Odorous ants are thought to live at least eight months, workers a few months, and males about a week (males typically die after mating). Odorous ants are prey to wasps, birds, and toads.
Odorous ants and Humans
Interaction between Odorous ants and humans is limited, but if nesting sites are available indoors they will venture there. Food sources, particularly sugary and greasy ones, attract ants to homes. The nest of an Odorous ant can be extremely pesky but is easily removed.
The Odorous ant does not sting or cause any serious structural damage, and usually does not bite unless the nest is disturbed.
How are Odorous ant bites treated?
If the Odorous ant does bite, it is typically not painful and does not exhibit any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, however, positive identification of the species should be done immediately. Apply an antibiotic ointment and apply ice to the affected area.
The Odorous ant is not considered a very serious pest, but if left unchecked can grow to be a big problem. Nests are usually unobtrusive but when built indoors are extreme annoyances. No one wants stinky bugs living in their house! Use of do-it-yourself pesticides may be all it takes to get rid of an Odorous ant infestation, but if it has become too big of a problem for you to handle on your own, consider professional help.