Odorous House Ant


Actual Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Characteristics: Small; brown or black. Produces a “rotten coconut” smell when they are crushed; hence the name.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Attracted to moisture; will nest in wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood.


  • Will nest inside homes in wall voids near heat sources.
  • Prefers to eat sweets, but will eat almost any household food.
  • Enters structures during and after heavy rains when the honeydew of plants has washed away.

Odorous House Ants in Bristol

Odorous house ants are the culprits behind most ant infestations in homes each year. Their colonies can grow to be quite large and new colonies are formed easily. Also occasionally known as stink ants or coconut ants, odorous house ants emit a foul smell when crushed. Kitchen pantries and cupboards are often the preferred target for these ants, who are constantly in search of sweets and proteins to feed on. These ants lack aggression between nests, actually cooperating with other ants, which allows them to dominate areas they invade. Sometimes referred to as sugar ants, they prefer to nest outdoors and feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. They are more likely to invade homes in rainy weather when the honeydew of plants might be washed away.

Odorous House Ant Habitat

Odorous house ants move their nests frequently and can survive in a variety of environments. In selecting a nesting site, the odorous house ant will construct a nest in shallow soil that is often located beneath an object, like a board or stone. Stacked materials, such as lumber, firewood, bricks, rocks, and cardboard are also favorite nesting sites. They forage into structures looking for food and can be found in kitchens and food prep areas. Indoors, odorous house ants prefer areas near moisture—wall voids near water pipes, heaters, leaking fixtures, and damaged wood are all ideal habitats for them.

Odorous House Ant Behaviors & Dangers

These ants prefer to be outdoors, but may enter homes, especially during rainy weather. As they search for food indoors, ants will establish trails on kitchen counters, and around cabinets, sinks, and baseboards. Due to their foraging activity, odorous house ants will easily contaminate human food supplies. Ant workers and scouts leave behind invisible scent trails from their food source, back to their nest, allowing hundreds of workers to invade homes and businesses. Although they don’t sting or bite, these ants can be a major nuisance. If an odorous house ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.