Odorous ants may nest inside or outside. Indoors, odorous ants will look for warm areas close to moisture to create their nests. Empty spaces in walls or in floors are common places for odorous ants to build nests. If their nest is outdoors, odorous ants like to live in outdoor debris such as firewood and mulch or in between sidewalks and stones. Even if they live outside, odorous ants will still travel inside in search of food. They will typically enter your house through cracks in the foundation or through openings around doors and windows. These are tiny, little ants so even the smallest space is enough room to get into your home or building.
Odorous ants have polydomous colonies, meaning that one colony has multiple nests. The best way to think of it is as a super colony with satellite nests. These colonies are examples of a dominance hierarchy meaning hundreds of workers serve a single queen or thousands of workers serve hundreds of queens. The bigger the ant colony, the bigger the ant population is within these colonies. Odorous ants have been found to move their nests as often as every three weeks in response to changing food sources.
Odorous ants feed day and night. They feed on insects, sugary substances, and meat. Above all, their favorite food is honeydew, a sugary substance secreted by aphids and other scale insects that feed on plant sap. To get to a food source, odorous ants prefer to travel on raised edges or ridges. These act as a guide and help odorous ants move from one place to another. Another guide they use is pheromone trails. Odorous ants will release pheromones as they travel so other ants can make their way to the food source.
Once a food source has been found, foraging odorous ants collect food near the nest and bring it back to the colony to share with the other ants. Because the colony is polydomous, odorous ants are very good at foraging for food in large territories. They are very quick to adapt as well. Rather than transporting food back to a nest that is far away, odorous ants will move and create a nest closer to the food source.
Odorous ants are often found near the foundation of a home, on driveways, sidewalks, and concrete landings. They mainly enter a home in search of food. Because they are attracted to sugar, pantries and cupboards are prime targets for odorous ants. They will also enter a house or building if it is particularly wet outside. During rainy weather, you might discover a trail of odorous ants making their way to a bathroom, basement, or kitchen.
In order to prevent an odorous ant infestation you should:
Make sure your windows and doors are sealed well.
Trim shrubs and trees in order to remove any access points.
Keep food stored in airtight containers in order to cut off the food supply.
Keep your kitchen surfaces and counters clean in order to disrupt any trails.
If you have pets, do not leave any food in bowls when they are not eating.
Locating the nests of odorous ants can be difficult, especially since there are typically multiple nests which may be in hard to find places such as near pipes or behind water heaters. Not to mention, odorous ants can move their nests every few weeks.
If you start to notice a trail of ants in your house or you smell their signature rotten coconut scent, there is a good chance you have an odorous ant problem. You should call an Aptive professional to exterminate. Aptive’s dedicated team uses professional, effective methods to remove odorous ants and ensure that your home is protected for the future.