Odorous House Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Small size with brown or black coloration. Known for producing a “rotten coconut” scent when crushed.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Primarily attracted to damp areas. Frequently found in wall voids near water pipes, water heaters, leaking fixtures, or decaying wood.


  • Will eat almost any household food, but prefers items with a high sugar content.
  • Seeks shelter indoors during or after heavy rains.
  • Often nests indoors near heat sources, particularly during the cold season.

Odorous House Ants in North Jersey

Named after their distinctive “rotten coconut” odor that they emit when crushed, odorous house ants are among the most difficult household ants to control here in North Jersey. Since they aren’t aggressive toward other species, odorous house ants are able to cooperate with other ants to fully dominate the areas they invade. Though odorous house ants typically stay outdoors, tending to aphids and collecting honeydew, they may wind up indoors while searching for sugary foods – hence their other nickname, the “sugar ant”.

Odorous House Ant Habitat

Odorous house ants are flexible and move their nests frequently. Most nests are built in shallow soil beneath a sturdy object, such as a stone or stack of firewood. These ants often stay outdoors and farm aphids for their honeydew, but heavy rains or cold weather may draw them indoors. Should they find a stable supply of sweet and sugary food, they’ll likely stick around – especially if your home or building also has moisture issues. Leaky pipes, dripping water heaters, and broken faucets will provide odorous house ants with all the water they need to thrive, which can increase your odds of battling an infestation.

Odorous House Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Though odorous house ants are not known to sting or bite, they can be annoying to discover indoors – especially because of their foul odor and habit of crawling all over our food sources. While hunting for food indoors, the ants will also leave behind pheromone trails to alert other ants that there’s a food supply nearby. When treating an infestation, it’s important to get rid of these pheromone trails to prevent more ants from congregating near your space.

Struggling with odorous house ants? Call the professional ant pest control technicians at Eastern Pest Services! We can help get your home or business ant-free in no time.