Odorous House Ants

Tapinoma Sessile



When crushed, these ants emit a foul odor, hence the name, Odorous House Ants. Odorous House Ants live in large colonies and in a wide variety of environments. In homes they are usually found in walls or under floors, and they often stage their infestations during the rainy season. Odorous House Ants can be seen traveling in a line and the seek food 24 hours a day.

Odorous House Ants have antennae with 12 segments, and like Carpenter Ants, range from black to a red/brown. However, these pests are much smaller than their woodworking cousins, only measuring about 1/10 of an inch long.

Both workers and female Odorous House Ants can live for several years, with females laying one egg each day. Hatchlings reach maturity in about 24 days. Odorous House Ants art partial to honeydew melons for their dietary staple in the wild, and typically seek out sweets when infesting homes.

Ordorous House Ants enemy within the ant family, is the Argentine Ant. When they encounter each other, Argentine Ants will often drive Odorous House Ants from their nests.


When Odorous House Ants become alarmed they run about erratically with abdomens tipped while releasing an alarm pheromone (the peculiar coconut-like odor), which draws more workers to the release site. (Factoid Source: Roger D. Akre, Ph.D., WSU Research Entomologist (deceased), and Arthur L. Antonelli, Ph.D., Extension Entomologist, WSU Puyallup)