What are Odorous Ants?

Like many ant species, odorous ants are found in Alabama and can be a nuisance. While smaller than traditional sugar ants, this species is known for its rotten food smell when crushed.

What do odorous ants look like?

Odorous ants are usually black, but sometimes brown, in color. The average lifespan is 30 to 85 days, depending on the season and environment. They’re average ant size, approximately 1/16 to 1/8 inch and are often seen marching in a line when hunting for food. When they feel threatened the ants will move around erratically and raise their abdomen to spray their odor, but they cannot bite or sting.

Where do they live?

It’s common for these ant colonies to have multiple queens, two or more, and anywhere from 100 to more than 100,000 worker ants. They can often be found in urban areas, building nests that are connected by underground tunnels. Although they mostly stay outside, they will seek shelter indoors if it’s rainy, and prefer to nest near heat sources, such as insulation or near a furnace or hot water heater.

Damage caused by odorous ants

These ants will not bite, but they can spray a foul odor, similar to rotten food. While they don’t normally cause structural damage they can contaminate food and become a real pest if not removed promptly.

How to control and eliminate odorous ants

The following tips can help reduce the threat of many pests, including odorous ants, among other species.

  • Avoid keeping piles of leaves, debris and wood near the house.
  • All cracks and crevices should be properly sealed to remove possible entry points for bugs.
  • Check door and window seals for tightness.
  • Clean up after meals, inside and outdoors, to remove sticky residue from tables, chairs and other surfaces.

If an ant nest is discovered, most available insecticides will reduce the number of ants, but it will not fully eliminate the colony. Ant baits can be effective, but take time to work because the workers must carry the bait back into the colony to the thousands of other ants. The best way to completely remove an ant infestation is by calling in professionals, such as United Pest & Turf Control. Their team of trained technicians knows how to properly identify the pest and what it takes to remove it.

What are Odorous Ants? in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee

Serving North Central Alabama and South Central Tennessee

Limestone County


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