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Odorous House Ant Facts

Tapinoma Sessile

CHARACTERISTICS

Size:

Harvester ants range from 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch in length.

Color:

The color varies from red to reddish brown to black, depending on the species.



Behavior:

Odorous house ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on ant baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from neighboring properties. The services of a professional are very helpful when encountering these ants.

Habitat:

This species is common in California north to Washington and is the most common pest ant in the mid-south region of Arkansas and West Tennessee. They may be encountered occasionally throughout the Midwestern United States. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items, such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may readily be established inside Homes, in walls, beneath carpeting, and other suitable voids or spaces.

Tips for Control

This ant can be difficult to control because it establishes multiple subcolonies and may nest in such a wide variety of sites. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Where the colonies cannot be found, baits may be attempted; however, several baits may be required before positive results are seen. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from neighboring properties. The services of a professional are very helpful when encountering these ants.
General tips for limiting ant infestations include:

    • Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
    • Keep landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
    • Ensure the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
    • Seal as many cracks in the Home’s exterior as possible.
    • Keep tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent them from touching the building.

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