The odorous house ant ranges across the entire United States from Canada to Mexico and feed on things found in your home, preferring things high in sugar. When living outside they look for honeydew excreted by aphids or on the nectar of flowers and buds.
The body of the odorous house ant is from brown to black with a segmented antenna and uneven thorax. One characteristic of this pest is the rotten odor emitted when it is crushed. According to the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, these ants can develop extremely large colonies. There colonies tend to include many queens among several thousand workers.
The odorous house ant nests indoors near moisture and warmth. The can feed on a lot of different food types and often cause us conflict when they raid our pantry. Controlling this invasion can be managed through the use of baits or using natural methods to keep them from entering.
How to get rid of the Odorous House Ant
Ants on the whole are not the worst insect as they do provide good environmental benefits. The will eat the larvae of fleas, silverfish, clothes moth, bed bugs and spiders; however, when they are also eating our food products, some control has to be taken. There are some natural and effective methods to get rid of them from your home:
Watch for their scouts
When you first see ants entering your kitchen this should be a warning to you that they are scouting out your area as a potential food source. These first ants are the scouts who will return to the nest and inform the others of all the potential food they have found. Do not let them find any.
- Wash all dishes as soon as you done using them and do not let dirty dishes stacked in your sink or on the counter. Clean your cupboard surfaces with vinegar as it will leave a nasty smell the ants will not like. Ensure your garbage container closes tightly and rinse all recyclable containers before throwing them into a bin.
- Sweep or vacuum your kitchen daily to make sure all crumbs are picked up and removed from the ant’s path. You don’t want those scouts finding any crumbs.
- If you have used a jar or container; honey jars, jams, pickles or any food with sticky residue, rinse them off before storing.
- Keep your food sealed in air-tight containers.
- You may find it necessary to store fragrant items such as deodorants in sealed containers. These items can get the ant’s initial attention.
Seal off the entrance areas
Find out where the ant is getting into your home and seal off their entrance. You may have to follow the ant to watch how they are entering or leaving and then use a silicone caulk, putty or glue to seal the opening. Make sure you are using a permanent solution that will not deteriorate and reopen the area.
Wash down their path
Soapy water will kill the ant and destroy the chemical scent they have left for other ants to follow. Place about one teaspoon into a spray bottle and fill it with water. Shake to make sure soap is mixed thoroughly and keep on hand for any sighting of ants. When you see them, give them a spray of the soapy solution and it will kill them. Spray the path they have traveled to prevent other ants from wanting to follow behind them.
Put up barriers
There are number of products you most likely have in your home already that will scare the ant away from your home:
- Citrus oil
- Baby powder
- White vinegar
- Powdered cleaners
- Powdered charcoal
By creating an unbroken line of one of these items where you have seen ants entering your home, it will keep them out. It only needs to be about a quarter of inch wide and spread across their entrance. You must have eliminated the ants from inside your home before applying this barrier otherwise you will be trapping them inside.
There are many ant baits you can purchase; however, they are produced from chemicals. You can make some natural ant baits at home with boric acid that has proven to be very effective. Boric acid is a stomach acid and when ingested will kill the ant. If they walk across this solution and take it back to the colony, it will also kill many ants inside the colony.
The odorous house ant will let you know they are present when you see their line of travel through your home and by the sudden odor of what is defined as rotten coconuts. Use these tips to keep them out of your home and certainly out of your kitchen.