Workers are about 1/8 inch long.
Odorous house ants range from dark brown to shiny black.
The odorous house ant gets its name from the strong odor it gives off when it is crushed. The unpleasant aroma is likened to rotting coconuts. Odorous ant colonies can have up to 10,000 workers who forage for food in long, distinct trails. These long trails of ants are often seen indoors as they crawl over and contaminate various household surfaces. Outdoors the odorous house ant makes shallow soil nests under any material on the ground, within hollow trees, or in any other available cavity. Indoors they build their nests in wall voids, under insulation in crawl spaces, or within cavities in wood.
The odorous house ant will eat just about any sweet food but prefers the honeydew produced by aphids and mealy bugs.
When a new colony is initiated, a queen lays a small batch of eggs and tends to the larvae that hatch. The adults that develop from these larvae go on to become workers and take over colony labor activities. During cold winter months, adults become inactive and larvae development slows. In spring, queens resume egg laying and colonies grow substantially during spring and summer. Odorous house ant colonies can produce hundreds of laying queens.
When they become alarmed, workers run around in an erratic fashion with their abdomens raised in the air. Colonies have been knows to grow to more than 100,000 ants.
When treating any ant problem, the most important step is finding the source.