Odorous House Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Small; brown or black. Produces a “rotten coconut” smell when they are crushed; hence the name.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

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


  • Will nest inside homes in wall voids near heat sources.
  • Prefers to eat sweets, but will eat almost any household food.
  • Enters structures during and after heavy rains when the honeydew of plants has washed away.

Odorous House Ants in the North and East Bay of California

Odorous house ants are difficult to control and emit a rotten, coconut-like odor when crushed. Named for their offensive odor, colonies begin in the spring and summer months by budding, which occurs when a mated queen crawls out of the nest with some workers to establish a new colony. These ants lack aggression between nests and can dominate areas they invade. Also known as sugar ants, they favor outdoor nesting sites and feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. During heavy rains, when the honeydew of plants might be washed away, odorous house ants enter homes in search of food.

Odorous House Ant Habitat

The odorous house ant will move their nests frequently and can survive in a variety of environments. In selecting a nesting site, the odorous house ant 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—wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats for them.

Odorous House Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although they prefer to be outdoors and do not sting or bite, odorous house ants will forage into homes, especially during rainy weather. As they search for food indoors, ants will establish trails on kitchen counters, and around cabinets, sinks, and baseboards. Due to their foraging activity, odorous house ants will easily contaminate human food supplies. Ant workers and scouts leave behind invisible scent trails from their food source, back to their nest, allowing hundreds of workers to invade homes and businesses. If an odorous house ant issue is suspected, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact Western Exterminator, formerly Hitmen today!