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Odorous House Ants

  • Odorous House Ants live in large colonies, up to 15,000 workers, and they produce an unusual odor when crushed.
  • They will readily eat sweets; their primary food source is honeydew from aphids, mealy bugs, or scales.
  • Sometimes they will attack proteins, such as dog or cat food, chips, or chicken
  • When food is scarce or the numbers within the colony reach massive levels, they are driven into our homes and places of work
  • We perform a thorough inspection to locate as many trails of ants as possible.
  • Very little chemical is introduced inside your home or office, and it will not harm children and pets.

Odorous House Ants have several nicknames, from ‘sugar ant’ to ‘sweet ant’ to some more colorful but less appropriate names for the web. Here in the Portland Metro area we do not have an ant called the ‘sugar ant’ or ‘sweet ant.’ Almost all of the ant species will eat sugars and sweet foods, proteins, or a combination of both. Nevertheless, what we’re all talking about is the Odorous House Ant.

Here is how to determine if you have Odorous House Ants:

  • Usually found around kitchen sink or garbage cans.
  • Find one, squash it, and smell it. Odorous House Ants produce an unusual odor when crushed.
  • Smell is that of a rotting coconut.
  • It can be intensely strong and pungent for a few seconds before it completely disappears.

The Odorous House Ant is the most formidable ant to remove of all species in the Portland area. While the Carpenter Ant would seem like a bigger challenge, with the right tools and knowledge the Carpenter Ant is relatively easy to eradicate from homes and offices. The major difference between the Odorous House Ant and Carpenter Ant species is not just their size, but also their biology and habits.

Unlike Carpenter Ants, Odorous House Ants live in large colonies, with each queen ruling over her domain of up to 10,000 workers. Also, these larger colonies can have multiple queens. Left alone, the colonies will grow to large super colonies, with several dozen queens each providing for the survival of the super colony. Another difference that makes the Odorous House Ant so successful is that they are friendly with ants from other colonies, even with ants from different species, taking in other ants to share food, water, and shelter. And of course, its small size makes it harder for predators to detect them.

Odorous House Ants will readily eat sweets; their primary food source is honeydew from aphids, mealy bugs, or scales. Sometimes they will attack proteins, such as dog or cat food, chips, or chicken. Usually they are content to stay outside. However, when food is scarce or the numbers within the colony reach massive levels, they are driven into our homes and places of work. When it comes to controlling these nuisance pests, some sources say that spraying can be very effective. Our experience is that spraying is only effective when you spray the nest (or if there are multiple queens, spraying all the nests).

Exodus Pest Control’s solution is simple:

We use a combination of non-repellent chemicals that the ants will either consume, take back to the nest, or both. These chemicals have a delayed mortality system, giving them the time necessary to feed the colony. This solution is counter-intuitive to the way ant control was done in the past. Because the nests are so difficult to find, this system allows the worker ants to do the hard job of finding the Odorous House Ant queen or queens. In order for our work to be effective, a thorough inspection is necessary to locate as many trails of ants as possible. We introduce very little chemical inside your home or office, and what chemical is necessary we hide away under baseboards and in wall voids.