Odorous House Ant

Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Small; brown or black in color. Emits a “rotten coconut” odor when crushed;

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Attracted to moisture; will nest in wall voids near water pipes, damaged wood, leaky plumbing fixtures, and heaters.


  • Prefers to eat sweets, but will eat nearly any food substance.
  • Will nest inside wall voids and near heat sources.
  • Enters structures during and after heavy rains when plant honeydew has washed away.


Odorous House Ants in your area

Odorous house ants, also referred to as sugar ants are known for the rotten, coconut-like odor they emit when crushed. This species is one of the most difficult to control. These ants lack aggression between nests, actually cooperating with other ants, which allows them to dominate areas they invade. Odorous house ants prefer to nest outdoors and feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. These tiny pests are more likely to invade homes in rainy weather when the honeydew of plants might be washed away.

Odorous House Ant Habitat

Odorous house ants move their nests frequently and can survive in a variety of environments. When selecting a nesting site, they will construct a nest in shallow soil that is often located beneath an object, like a board or stone. Stacked materials, such as lumber, firewood, bricks, rocks, and cardboard are also favorite nesting sites. They forage into structures looking for food and can be found in kitchens and food prep areas. Indoors, odorous house ants prefer areas near moisture, including near leaky plumbing fixtures, near water pipes, and in wall voids. Damaged wood is also an ideal environment for them.

Odorous House Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While odorous house ants prefer to be outdoors and do not sting or bite, they will forage into homes, especially during rainy weather. As they search for food indoors, odorous house ant scouts will leave behind invisible pheromone trails from their food source to their nest, letting others know where to go.  If you suspect you have an odorous house ant infestation, it’s recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.