Stink ants, coconut ants or Omaha odorous house ants –whatever you call them, the tiny creatures known to entomologists as Tapinoma sessile is a pest best dealt with by a professional exterminator. While not as prevalent in Nebraska as in some other states, odorous house ants can and do invade homes and contaminate food sources throughout the Omaha area.

Odorous house ants are exceedingly fond of sweets and will travel far to obtain a taste. Outdoors, they can be seen feeding on flower nectar and fruit. If aphids or mealybugs are around, odorous ants will feast upon ‘honeydew.’ Indoors, they will make a beeline (an ant line, actually) for your cookie jar. If unable to locate their preferred food, the wee wanderers will make a meal of greasy tidbits and scraps of meat. They may even dine upon other dead insects. Their propensity for a varied diet allows odorous ants to live -and nest- practically anywhere

If you find ants in your home, they may or may not be nesting indoors. Odorous ants typically create shallow nests beneath debris and underneath wood piles. They are also known to colonize gaps in walls or under floors. If all you see is one line of wingless worker ants rapidly moving back and forth, the colony is probably not nesting in your home. If you notice ants with wings, there’s a good chance that they’ve set up housekeeping indoors. Locating the source of an odorous ant infestation may be a complex task, notes the Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

How to recognize odorous ants

Of all the ant species known to inhabit Nebraska, odorous ants are among the smallest. Yellow Acanthomyops interjectus ants may grow to 1/4 inch in length, and black Camponotus pennsylvanicus carpenter ants may attain a length of 3/4 inch. Dark brown to black in color, odorous ants never grow longer than 1/16 of an inch, and males and queens are generally the same size.

Other tiny Nebraska ants include the reddish Monomorium pharaonis pharaoh ant and light brown to yellow hued Solenopsis molesta thief ants. Ants that are barely 1/16 inch in length may be difficult to identify, especially for homeowners. The best way to know if the ants in and around your home are of the odorous variety is by smell. When crushed, odorous ants release an unpleasant aroma that has been described as that of rotting coconut or even stinky blue cheese.

How to prevent odorous ant infestation

Well-sealed exterior walls are your best defense against an odorous ant invasion. Being opportunists, little ants with a meal on their collective mind can and will find their way indoors through the tiniest of gaps. Once they’ve decided to nest somewhere, indoors or out, getting rid of them is a job best left to a professional pest exterminator.

Odorous ants don’t bite, and they have no stingers. They are not harmful to humans per se, but the pesky critters can make the food in your pantry inedible. You can try spraying a moving line of ants with a vinegar-water solution, but that’s a stopgap measure at best. To fully eradicate an odorous ant infestation, your best bet is to contact us. We are Miller Pest and Termite, and we are the #1 ant and pest control outfit in the greater Omaha area.

If you are plagued with ants, give us a call right away. We’ll send a skilled ant hunter to your home with the right tools and chemicals to alleviate your infestation and prevent new invasions. Miller Pest and Termite has helped many of your neighbors get rid of ants, and we can help you, too.