Both odorous and odious, the odorous house ant plagues many Seattle homeowners. Commonly called “sugar ants,” these small black ants are characterized by their rancid coconut smell when threatened or smashed. Although it may be tempting to squish them, the smell is certainly a motivator to think twice about your murderous intentions; injured worker ants can continue to forage for food, and queen ants can still use ant carcasses to lay eggs. Not to mention, the ants you find on your kitchen counter don’t make up the entire colony. In fact, odorous house ant colonies tend to have multiple nests with multiple queens, meaning you may see only a few tiny ants, but they may lead back to millions!
Once an odorous ant colony has set up shop in or around your home, it can be rather difficult to kick those stinky ants to the curb, but with a few adjustments—and perhaps a little help from the pest control professionals—you can be free of rancid smells from these pesky invaders.
Leaving Food Out
The number-one reason why you might have an odorous house ant problem is that you have plenty of food and crumbs for these ants to feast on. Odorous house ants prefer to be outside and generally feed on aphids, but when food supplies run low, they will turn to the next available food source. If you don’t always clean up spills and crumbs as soon as they happen or have a tendency to leave food out on the counter, you might be creating the ideal meal for these ants. Once they’ve established that your home is a good place to go for food, they will follow the trail back for a meal again and again. And don’t be fooled by their common moniker, “sugar ant;” they will feast on anything you leave out, from vegetables to meat to sugary drinks and treats.
There’s nothing more off-putting than finding an ant in your food, but that lone ant can also make you very sick. Odorous house ants have been known to carry diseases such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella. Bottom line: Keep yourself healthy and keep your food covered, sealed, and away from places where these ants can access it.
Odorous house ants tend to like dry, warm climates but will begin to make their way inside during the heat of the day, after a big rain, when temperatures drop, or when food supplies become scarce. Unfortunately for us, homes and commercial buildings are the perfect places for these foul-smelling pests to seek refuge. They can hide in the walls, a potted plant, or even a pile of mulch or leaves outside your home.
Signs of an Odorous House Ant Infestation in Seattle
The most obvious sign of an odorous ant infestation is the presence of ants. Odorous house ants are dark brown to black and are only 1/16 t0 ⅛ inch long. Another sure-fire sign is the presence of their infamous rotten coconut smell if you’re brave enough to kill them.
Many homeowners will often complain of swarming termites, but those “termites” might just be female odorous house ants. Female ants are equipped with wings so they can fly off to mate, so if you’re seeing a large cluster of these ants around your home, it’s almost certain there is a colony nearby that is infiltrating your home.
How Do I Get Rid of My Odorous House Ant Infestation?
While keeping your kitchen clean and promptly wiping up spills is a good way to keep odorous house ants out, turning your attention to your lawn can also dramatically drop odorous house ant populations.
Removing any large piles of mulch, leaves, or other vegetation where odorous house ants might hide and moving those same piles away from the structure will not only destroy their environment but also cut off the bridge they might be using to access your building. Treating your lawn and the exterior perimeter of your home can also stop ants at the door before they can ever get inside. Aside from the liquid chemical treatments you can buy at the store, you can also use coffee grounds, Borax, and diatomaceous earth. Buyer beware: Borax and diatomaceous earth are not ideal for households with pets or young children.
You can also keep ants out of your home by using soapy water and vinegar to clear the trail they use to find their way back to their food source. Wiping down the counters will confuse the ants so they won’t be able to follow their trail back.
Let Mathis Exterminating Sniff Out Your Odorous House Ant Infestation
When all your best efforts to rid your Washington home of these rotten pests have failed, it may be time to turn to the professionals at Mathis Exterminating. When you schedule your free pest inspection with us, we will help you determine where odorous house ants are hiding, recommend additional prevention tips, and decide the best method of treatment—from baiting to periodic applications around the house. Keep those odorous house ants from stinking up your home or business and contact the knowledgeable pest control specialists at Mathis today!