Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

Odorous House Ant

How to exterminate them


The key to exterminating ants is to kill the entire colony. If you just spray the ants you see, more ants will continue to reappear in search for a source of water and food that they can bring back to share with the queen and other ants in the colony. Combat® products provide the source kill you need and are a guaranteed solution! Use Combat® Source Kill Max Ant Baits in common areas where you see ants and Combat® Ant Killing Gel in cracks and crevices or places where ants might enter the home. Click here to learn more about how Combat® works to kill at the source.


Where they live


Odorous House Ants live throughout the United States. They tend to be less common in desert environments.


What they look like


Odorous House Ants are medium-sized ants, approximately 1/8 inch long. They are uniform brown to black in color. They can be identified by the rotten coconut odor they release when crushed.


Where they nest


These resourceful ants live in various nesting sites, usually outdoors. They will make shallow nests in stacks of materials, such as wood, rock, or cardboard or under rocks or boards. When nesting indoors, they usually locate the nest near sources of water; for example, in the kitchen and bathroom.


What they eat


Odorous House Ants feed mostly on sugar water in the form of nectar from plants and honeydew from plant-sucking insects such as aphids, scales, and mealybugs. They also feed on both live and dead insects. They forage for food both day and night.


Steps to prevent an invasion


To help protect your home from invasion, keep plants and piles of debris (where odorous house ants like to nest) at least 1 foot away from your home. Seal exterior cracks where ants could enter. To discourage ants from coming indoors, repair water leaks, do not over water plants, clean up food spills, store food in tightly-sealed containers, and don’t leave pet food out.

Fact Sheet

  • Sugar ants get their name because they collect sugary nectar, plant secretions, and honeydew sap from sapsucking insects
  • They are commonly found in suburban areas, forests, and woodlands
  • Sugar ants prefer warm and humid climates, and become more active during the summer
  • They have orange-brown bodies, and black heads and mandibles
  • Sugar ants are small to medium sized – ranging from 2 to 15mm in length
  • They are nesters, forming nests behind walls, holes in woods, between rocks, or in the soil
  • They are primarily nocturnal, but some species can be seen during the day
  • Winged male sugar ants are completely black, while female workers have orange-colored bodies.