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Odorous House Ants: Dangerous Food Contaminators


Have you ever entered your bathroom to see tiny little ants crawling around on the floor? If you are in a hurry, you probably don't pay too much attention to them. How about in your basement? No worries right? But what if you see a swarm of ants crawling around on your countertops, pantry shelves and inside your silverware drawers? Then should you be alarmed? Well, if the little ants you are seeing happen to be odorous house ants, there may be a reason for concern.

While some people are busy debating just exactly what an odorous house ant smells like when you squish it (either rotten coconuts or blue cheese) other folks are concerned about the potential of food being contaminated by these pesky creatures. First, let's talk about how to identify these ants. Odorous house ants are fairly easy to identify. They are quite small, around 2.4 to 3.15 mm in length and have dark brown or black bodies with an unevenly shaped thorax. They have one single node on their petiole, which is hidden by their abdomens.

These ants are happy living outdoors or indoors and can live virtually anywhere in a variety of conditions but they are most likely to invade buildings during rainy weather, or in the fall. Once indoors, they are likely to make nests inside wall voids around hot water pipes or heaters, underneath sinks, beneath the floor, or behind cabinets. Once inside, they are happiest to feed on sweet foods, but they will also eat meats, grease, dairy products, cooked or raw vegetables and juices.

As these ants forage for food, moving both inside and outside, they will establish trails along kitchen counters, pantries and anywhere else they roam. Because of this, they can easily contaminate human food products. Like other household pests, such as rodents, they may crawl all over a dumpster or in a sewer and then come in to track filth all over your kitchen. So, if you see ants crawling around in your home, it may be wise to take notice.

For 50 years, the pest control professionals here at Aiken Pest Control have been assisting folks in getting rid of odorous house ants. If you would rather not have your food contaminated by these ants, or any other household pest, reach out to Aiken today to learn about the many pest control options we have developed for South Carolina residents.