Odorous House Ant
Summary: The Odorous house ant can be difficult to control because its eating habits can change several times during its life cycle.
The best pest control products are Suspend SC, Talstar Granules, Tempo 1% Dust and Maxforce FC Ant Bait Gel. Read on to learn where and how to use these products.
As always, the first step in controlling an ant infestation is to get the ant properly identified. It does little good trying to treat the odorous house ant with methods and products designed to control pavement ants. Get the idea? You don't read an owner's manual from a Chevy when you're working on a Ford. Same principle.
Odorous house ants are little. That's a fact, but get specific. They are about 3.5mm long. (Scientists like to measure in metric, so get use to it.) It's about 1/8th inch long. They have no stinger at the tip of the abdomen. (They have three body segments; head, thorax and abdomen.)
The thorax, the middle segment, is uneven. It's not smoothly rounded like some other ants. It also has no spines or spikes on the thorax.
The antennae have 12 segments. That includes the one long segment that pokes out from the ant's head. (You're going to need a microscope for this close up examination. A handheld magnifying glass won't get the job done easily.)
Lastly, the work ants give off a rotten, coconut-like odor when crushed. I haven't been around a lot of rotten coconuts, so you're going to have to use your imagination or speak to someone who has lived around palm trees.
Okay, so now you have made a positive identification. You know you have Odorous house ants, for sure. Here's some other good stuff to know about these ants. When they live outdoors they usually can be found nesting in the soil under some objects like rocks or piles of wood. Indoors, these ants nest in wall voids. Specifically, they like to live around hot water pipes and heaters and in crevices around sinks, cupboards and dishwashing machines. They'll remain outside, but when ant colonies get really big and food gets scarce, they start hunting for food. They may also be forced to search for food during droughts or very long wet periods.
***image3***When the ants are indoors they seem to prefer sweets during warmer weather, but they may switch their diet to high-protein foods and greasy meats and cheese. Outdoors, they feed mainly on honeydew, plant secretions and sometimes, seeds and insects.
Locating the nest is critical to controlling odorous house ants. The easiest method of locating a nest is to simply follow the trail of foraging workers. When you discover the nest location, dust interior walls using Drione or Tempo. You can also pump dust directly into the nest.
Make a perimeter exterior treatment using Suspend or Talstar granules. For interior treatments when ants are eating protein depend upon Maxforce FC Ant Killer Bait Stations, positioning stations along where the ants are trailing. Also apply bait close to water sources where you find ant activity. If you discover that the ants are not taking the protein baits use Maxforce FC Ant Bait Gel as a sugar-based bait.