Chesapeake is home to a wide variety of ants. We have a startling number of species. One of the most common and pernicious ant pests that enter Chesapeake homes is called the odorous house ant. How did odorous house ants get their name, how do they invade your home, what do they do once they get inside, and what can you do about them? Join us as we give you a quick guide to odorous house ants and tell you how you can use this information to prevent having a problem with these ant pests. More importantly, we will tell you how to get rid of odorous house ants if you already have them in your home. If you want direct answers or service options, remember that Hawk Mosquito & Pest offers professional ant control in Chesapeake. Contact us at any time. We're here to help.
Why Are They Called Odorous House Ants?
When crushed underfoot, odorous house ants give off a slightly foul odor. It is often described as resembling rotten coconut. That description actually offers an interesting insight into what attracts odorous house ants. Imagine a banana sitting on your kitchen counter. If you pick it up while it is still green, peel it, and take a bite, you're not going to like the sour taste of the banana inside. If you wait till it turns yellow, you know that the banana is going to be sweet. If you wait even longer and allow it to turn slightly brown, it is going to become even sweeter still. Now imagine it turning black. That is when it is most interesting to odorous house ants. These pests have a sweet tooth, and they don't mind when sweet things start to decay. This is one of the most important odorous house ant facts to know. It provides insight into what attracts these ants most and why it isn't good to have them in your home.
Attraction: When these ants explore your exterior, they're going to want to find nectar or honeydew. Both of these are natural food sources found in many landscapes. If you remove flowering weeds and address aphids, white flies, and scale insects, you will get some control of odorous house ants and deter them from entering your home.
Germs: When odorous house ants look for sweet things, they have no problem going into your trash cans to find what they want. When exposed to something like rotting food, an odorous house ant picks up invisible bacteria and spreads them as they leave your trash and crawl on your counters, dishes, cutting boards, and food shelves.
When odorous house ants find food sources and get into your Chesapeake home, they can cause stomach ailments. But, they are most known for the bad aroma they create when crushed. Since they enter homes in large numbers and are capable of creating indoor nests, it may not take long before you’re crushing lots of these ants under your feet.
How Odorous House Ants Get Into Chesapeake Homes And Properties
The best solution to odorous house ants is to not have them in your home in the first place. How do you prevent an odorous house ant infestation? You have to understand how they get into your home and what set of conditions lead to an indoor nest.
Step One: An attractant brings ants to your exterior, and they develop a nest near your home. A sweet food source like nectar or honeydew is often the catalyst. They may also be attracted to a trash receptacle, plant debris, vegetable garden, fruit, or food around a grill.
Step Two: Once the first nest matures, it produces winged reproductives. These ants leave the nest, mate, and establish new nests. Suddenly, the small problem has gotten a lot worse. As you have more ants near your home, more ants are likely to enter your home.
Step Three: The nests send out scouts. These ants travel a long distance to find food sources. When a scout finds a source in your home, it takes a direct route back to the nest, leaving an invisible trail as it goes. Other ants follow the scent of the trail to the food and collect it. You can deter the ants by locating the food source, removing it, and wiping down surfaces with soapy water to remove the scent of the trail.
Step Four: If these ants keep finding food in your home, they'll create an indoor nest. They're likely to make their nest under hot water pipes within your walls or near a heater in your boiler room. Once an indoor nest is created, ants will appear more often.
Long before odorous house ants invade your space and make an interior nest, you can stop them. Perform an inspection of your exterior and fill in every entry point you detect. Check your foundation, utilities, vents, windows, and doors. Use expanding foam to fill in holes and gaps, a caulking gun to seal around window and door frames, and replace weatherproofing materials and door sweeps as needed.
Problems That Come With Odorous House Ant Activity
How bad is it to have odorous house ants in your home? At first, you may not notice all that much. An odorous house ant is only about ? to ¼ of an inch long. You'll hardly notice the scouts. But when they activate an army and enter your home in large numbers, they're hard to ignore. Let's recap what we've discussed so far.
Nuisance: When you have hundreds of ants climbing around on your trash or kitchen counters, it is disturbing. While an odorous house ant is tiny by itself, it isn't tiny when it is clumped into an organic mass with a hundred other ants. These ants have a swarming behavior that can have them climbing over each other and clinging together in a clump that looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
Odor: Odorous house ants give off an unpleasant odor of rotten coconuts. While slight at first, it is going to grow as you have more and more ants climbing around inside your home. It is best to deal with these ants quickly. Odorous house ant colonies have multiple queens, reproduce quickly, spread quickly, and are prone to colony budding (which turns one colony into several).
Bacteria: Odorous house ants climb in many places that are unsanitary, not just your trash receptacles. Consider all of the unsanitary things these ants may climb on or feed on. It is possible for odorous house ants to cause serious illness, such as salmonellosis.
It is wise to get an odorous house ant treatment when you discover these ants in your home because they are persistent and frustrating pests that cause problems that grow worse over time. Let's take a look at how you can prevent an odorous house ant problem if you don't have one yet, and how to treat an infestation.
How To Prevent And Treat Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants feed on the honeydew produced by insects in your landscaping. They also feed on dead insects. When you manage insect pests around your home, you reduce a big reason these ants want to live near you. When combined with an exterior perimeter treatment to prevent ants from entering your home, you'll be well on your way to preventing ant infestations. Your local pest control service provider can help you tackle both of these tasks. A residential pest control service plan comes with spot treatments to address pest activity in your yard and routine liquid applications to your exterior. Some programs also include mound treatments and bait applications to address ant colonies directly.
If you currently have odorous house ants in your home, you need a systematic plan to eliminate these ants at the source. Controlling ants requires a unique knowledge of their habits, habitats, and food preferences. A pest management professional will perform an inspection, follow ant trails, check for mounds, look for warning signs of an interior nest, treat key areas, apply baits, evaluate the success of the baits applied, and use monitoring devices to track activity. When approached scientifically, ant control can successfully and efficiently eliminate all ants in your home. Once the ants are gone, ongoing sanitation, application of exclusion materials, and exterior treatments help to make sure they don't come back.
Would you like to learn more about ant pest control services offered by Hawk Mosquito & Pest in the Chesapeake area? We make it easy to ask questions and get answers. Navigate to our contact us page and tell us what kind of issue you're dealing with and what concerns you have. We can share our service options, pricing, and other details to help you make a decision regarding your ant control needs.
We look forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations. Hawk Mosquito & Pest is committed to offering industry-leading solutions and superior pest control service. We are your Chesapeake area pest experts. Connect with us today. We can help.