What Is The Easiest Way To Keep Odorous House Ants Away From Your Bay Area Home

Odorous ant on a leaf

Ants exist in most areas of the world, and the U.S. is now home to approximately 700 different ant species. Ants are common household pests with segmented bodies that appear in many different colors with antennae and six legs. Ants are highly social insects that form massive nests or colonies, with many others separated into categories based on their role in activities, including reproduction, foraging for food, or defending the nest.  

Here in the Bay Area, three of the most common ant species include Argentine ants, carpenter ants, and odorous house ants. Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) earned their name based on how they emit a foul odor, sometimes described as "coconut-like" when crushed.

Are you in need of professional odorous house ant control services? For safe and effective pest control in the Bay Area, consider contacting a professional pest control company like Bay Pest. A properly trained provider will perform high-quality odorous house ant treatment.

How Can I Tell If It's Odorous House Ants In My House?

Odorous house ants in The Bay Area appear brown or black and have tiny bodies measuring from roughly 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long, which makes stopping them from entering homes very challenging. Although the species consumes dead insects, they are also known for having a "sweet tooth," and honeydew is among their favorites. The species will likely fit through most openings found throughout a home, including cracks that develop or gaps around the seals of exterior doors or windows.

During periods of rain, the honeydew found on types of plant life, which represents a primary food source for the species, is often rinsed away. 
In the absence of this key food source, odorous house ants will often venture inside homes. Large trails of odorous house ants are sometimes visible marching across sidewalks, driveways, or other clear surfaces.

Because of their small size, viewing these ants clearly with the naked eye is often difficult. However, odorous house ants have a somewhat distinctive structure with an "uneven" thorax and petiole (waist) that is obscured from view by its extended abdomen. 

Where do odorous house ants live when in natural outdoor areas? Common nesting locations include soil beneath rocks, logs, mulch, or other debris. In many instances, Bay Area property owners will notice winged ants congregating in "swarms" on their property, which is an indication of the onset of mating season. Odorous house ants will typically remain active in outdoor areas during cool weather—often until the temperature reaches 50 degrees.

When would you most likely encounter odorous house ant swarmers on your property? In this region, ants will usually emerge for mating activities during the spring months. The process of budding often occurs in the late spring or early summer; a mated queen vacates the existing site with a group of workers and moves into the newly formed colony.

Colonies of odorous house ants may house several queens; therefore, the number of ants in a colony will quickly surge. An entomologist from Purdue University explained that odorous house ants commonly form sprawling "super colonies" that create environments similar to those of an invasive ant species in urban or suburban settings.

Colonies of odorous house ants will amicably coexist with others nearby that derive from a common lineage. Normally, significant hostility exists among colonies of the same species lacking any ancestral history or of any other ant species.  

Odorous house ants are known for foraging at all times of the day. Around the exterior of a structure, expect these creatures to travel along the base near the foundation in long trails, which might ultimately extend back to the nesting location. 

Once indoors, odorous house ants often seek areas with ample moisture, such as laundry areas or underneath sinks. Keep in mind that ants may remain active all year after entering a home or other indoor structure.

Are Odorous House Ants Harmful?

Are odorous house ants dangerous creatures that carry diseases? As with most ant species, odorous house ants are primarily a nuisance pest. However, they spread germs and contaminate food as they travel through a home. These insects are associated with salmonellosis, E.coli infection, and other health risks.

Do odorous house ants bite humans? Although odorous house ants could bite humans, incidents are rare without some provocation. The species lacks the ability to sting.

What Attracts Odorous House Ants To A Dwelling?

Home and business owners in the Bay Area facing an ongoing problem with odorous house ants should limit the presence of attractants that encourage these troublesome pests from invading their homes. Some of the following conditions typically attract ants:

  • Yards or patios littered with food remnants or packaging materials following barbeques and cookouts will likely attract ants.
  • Ants will consume pet food; therefore, promptly remove bowls of uneaten food and store pet food in durable, sealed containers that limit access. 
  • Kitchens with dirty dishes left in the sink or crumbs or spills on the floor will typically attract ants. 
  • Ants will easily infiltrate open trash bags containing food scraps; therefore, always place bags in receptacles with functional lids.
  • Excessive moisture and areas of standing water will likely attract these pests; thus, fix any plumbing leaks, keep gutters and downspouts clear, and use a dehumidifier when needed in damp basements or crawlspaces.

Limiting attractants is merely one aspect of a truly comprehensive ant prevention strategy. Remember the importance of also performing regular maintenance throughout the exterior of the structure and implementing exclusionary measures that physically impede ant access. For example, keep shrubs, branches, and other types of vegetation trimmed back away from the structure, as odorous house ants might use these objects to access your home. When dealing with odorous house ant infestations, the best option is to reach out to the experts.

Contact The Professionals For Total Odorous House Ant Elimination

What is the best way to get rid of odorous house ants? Too many local homeowners try store-bought ant control products in the form of sprays or traps. Unfortunately, many of these do-it-yourself options deliver only short-term results that are insufficient against more developed ant infestations. Weeks down the line, many of these property owners find themselves still frustrated as they watch ants climbing through cupboards, sinks, or on countertops.

Furthermore, many of these home pest control products might contain harsh chemical formulas that create respiratory problems, irritate the skin or eyes, or pose other health risks, particularly among small children or household pets. A do-it-yourselfer might also choose the wrong type of product or use too much.

The team of local professionals with Bay Pest understands the best ways of safely ousting ant infestations for residential and commercial customers in the Bay Area. Our technicians use a simple yet effective approach to dealing with ants that are creating frustration. After receiving an inquiry from a customer, we will deploy a qualified technician to the property that performs a rigorous assessment of the premises.

During the initial inspection process, we will identify the species involved and look within hard-to-reach places for any signs of activity. Our specialist will often discover the likely points of entry to the interior area of the home. We understand that each property is unique with different configurations and other property conditions; therefore, simply deploying "one-size-fits-all" treatment options is inappropriate.

Our specialists create truly customized solutions that will enhance efficiency and safety. We will take the time to explain the best available treatment option and answer any questions that might arise. The ant treatment process usually begins on the exterior of the property using a granular formula, which includes finding and treating an outdoor nest if necessary.

We commonly use baiting methods for expelling ant infestations, which are customized according to the species of ant involved. For example, odorous house ants are typically drawn to sugary bait, and Argentine ants prefer bait composed of protein. As with all of our pest control services, we stand behind the quality of our work with a customer satisfaction guarantee.

Many of our current customers choose our ongoing, year-round property protection plans. These service plans involve quarterly treatment visits from one of our trained professionals that will prevent future ant-related intrusions.

In addition to ants, Bay Pest provides comprehensive solutions for customers struggling with spiders, termites, cockroaches, and many other undesirable and potentially harmful creatures that invade properties. This is of critical importance, as often the presence of certain critters is an indicator of another underlying pest-related problem in the home.

With more than 40 years of experience in the pest control industry, we remain among the leading home pest control service providers in the Bay Area. Our organization remains committed to ongoing training and education and embraces many of the latest products and application methods that emerge in the pest control industry. For example, we try products recommended by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), The Pest Control Operators of California, and other leading advocates in the field.

Contact our friendly professionals today for a consultation. 

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