Odorous House Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Brown or black in color. The best identifying characteristic is the “rotten coconut” smell they produce when they are crushed; hence the name.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats.


  • Indoors, they usually nest in wall voids near heat sources.
  • When foraging will contaminate food by leaving waste behind. 
  • Most likely to invade buildings during rainy weather or in the fall.

Odorous House Ants in Virginia

Odorous house ants are the culprits behind most ant infestations in homes. In Virginia, their colonies can grow to be quite large and new colonies are formed easily. Odorous ant colonies contain two or more queens and more than 100,000 workers. Also known as sugar ants, stink ants or coconut ants, odorous house ants emit a foul smell when crushed. Kitchen pantries and cupboards are often the preferred locations for these ants. Odorous house ants forage for food night and day and prefer food rich in sweets and proteins.

Odorous House Ant Habitat

The odorous house ant can live almost anywhere, thriving indoors, and outdoors. Outside, odorous house ants are often found under stacks of firewood or in exposed soil. When they enter homes and buildings as they forage for food, they will typically be found in kitchens. When they nest, odorous house ants prefer damp, moist areas—wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats for them. 

Odorous House Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although odorous house ants do not sting or bite, they can contaminate food as they forage inside homes and buildings. Colonies can house thousands of members, which makes elimination extremely difficult. Like many species of ants, colonies consist of workers and scouts who seek out food to provide for the queen. Scout ants leave a scent trail from any food source back to the colony. When worker ants follow the scent or pheromone trail to the food source in a home or building, they invade homes in large numbers. If an odorous house ant issue is suspected, it is recommended to consult a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor's today!