Before we explore the best ways how to get rid of odorous house ants, we need to know what they are.  How do ants get inside your house? How do you know if those brown or black pests in your home (or garden) are this ant species?  Odorous house ants are also called coconut or stink ants.  The odorous house ant's scientific name is tapinoma sessile.

Odorous ants are brown, black,  or dark brown. The odorous house ant is small--around 1.5 -3 mm long making this one tiny pest.

What attracts odorous ants?

Odorous house ant sitting on a leaf


Similar to other ants, odorous house ants like moisture or water. They are attracted to moisture which is one of the few reasons that they become a problem for the presence of ants in the home during winter. Indeed, odorous ants will attempt to get at that moisture by any means. They may even use tree branches beside a house to get inside. Ensure the foundation of your house has no tiny openings or cracks to squeeze through. Also, make sure there is no standing water in areas near the foundation of your home.

How does the odorous house ant get that name?

When you crush an odorous house ant, they emit a heavy scent of rotten coconut. This is where they get their name.  This pest measures in at a tiny one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an inch in length. These ants are very small.

Are house ants polymorphic?

Odorous house ants are brown or black in color and very tiny--approximately 3 mm or ⅛ inch long.  Workers are this size as well. Within a (polymorphic) colony of several thousand (100,000 workers), there may be multiple queens.  The odorous house ant is related closely to the ghost ant; however, their coloring and size characterize them apart.

What is that scent when you kill an ant?

Crushed odorous house ants emitting the smell of a rotten coconut

A putrid odor similar to a rotten coconut is what you can smell when you crush an odorous house ant.  Further, the odor is where they get their nickname-- “coconut ants”.  So when odorous ants are killed, they'll likely emit an odor. This then acts as a warning to other odorous house ants sessile in the colony that something bad has happened.

Are odorous house ants dangerous?

These tiny ants are not so dangerous as they are a pest and nuisance.  But, odorous house ants contaminate the foods as they forage around. They look through your house for food sources to take to the nest.

How do odorous ants threaten a home?

Odorous sessile pose the biggest threat to the foods we store in our kitchen. This is the most susceptible room where ants like to start an ant infestation. This room is where all the good food is- sugary foods, dairy products, fruit juices, and even raw vegetables.

Moreover, odorous house ants do pose health issues. They transmit to humans harmful diseases like Salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella (this condition often results in bloody diarrhea). Thus, it is recommended that your food is stored in airtight containers.  Since odorous ants will quickly rush toward sugary foods when they smell them.

Why do dead ants smell like they do?

Odorous house ants are also called “the sweet ants”. The nickname is after the smell of a decaying coconut which odorous house ants released when you crush them.  Additionally, ants use this smell as a mechanism for defense. It sends other ants in the colony a warning that there is something wrong and danger is present. Thus, it might have ants bury their dead.

What are Argentine Ants?

What Argentine ant look like

There is another invasive pest called Argentine ants. They are attracted to waste and decay. It is common for these tiny animals to take shelter in wall voids or near water pipes around a house.

Do these house ants bite?

The odorous house ant is more of a perpetual pest who likes to get inside the common areas to find food.  So will ants bite you? Well, these pests don’t bite or sting, but they do contaminate the food they find when this ant species gets in your home.

Where do these pests live?

The ant species known as odorous house ants may live outside as well as inside a home.  These ants like to build nests or colonies in exposed soil they find under boards, logs, stones, debris, or mulch. Sometimes they make their way into a building. One may find odorous ants prefer an infestation indoors in the fall when the weather is rainy.

What do these ants eat?

The sweet juices of mealybugs and aphids are the favorite treat of an odorous ant. Correspondingly, these odorous ants collect the released sweet stuff of the two insects as they are eating plants.  Then, the odorous house ants then bring this sweet snack back to the nest to share with the rest of the odorous ant colony.

How to get rid of odorous house ants overnight?

To get rid of odorous house ants overnight, you will first have to gather a few items:

  • A cup of hot water
  • One-half cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Borax
  • A few cotton balls

Mix the first three items in the above list into a liquid concoction. Now soak the cotton balls in this solution.  Place one soaked cotton ball at the entrance to or wherever you have seen a trail of these pests.

What’s a fast way to rid odorous house ants outside?

A DIY mixture of half-cup vinegar and a cup of water to get rid of odorous house ants

When you have an ant infestation outdoors, we have a quick way how to get rid of and control these odorous house ants. Here is a do-it-yourself pest control technique. Make a mixture of half-cup vinegar and a cup of water. Locate a spray bottle from a discount or hardware store and pour this liquid into it.  Now spritz the vinegar and water mixture generously on each nest found.  Another home method of control is a soapy concoction of hot water and dish detergent.

How long does it take to completely rid Odorous House Ants?

Getting rid of odorous house ants is dependent on the size of the ant colony or nests you are removing. Are there multiple colonies within the ant infestation? So typically, it will take 7 - 10 days for you to see a reduction in sessile ant colonies.

What regions are the most popular for them?

This tiny ant, known as the odorous house ant, is found in southern Canada, Mexico, and the United States.  In fact, odorous house ants are common and found throughout every state within the continental United States. So you can find them in a variety of regions from sea level and above as they tend to live in various environments.

How can I be rid of stink ants?

Stink ants trapped on the gel bait


One best way how to get rid of this ant is by using gel bait.  These baits are typically the best way to repel and rid of complete nests or colonies.

Call a Professional to get rid of odorous house ants

When home and store remedies for ant control are not successful, it is time to call an expert who knows the best way to get rid of odorous house ants. Call the team with ant in the name. An all-rights reserved company known as A.N.T. Pest Control. This pest control company knows the best treatment methods to get rid of the tapinoma sessile.  When other methods of pest control against odorous house ants are not working, call the one who can provide the best ant control services.

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