Odorous (Sugar Ants) house ant workers are brown to black and 1/16″ to 1/8″ long. The thorax has no spines, and the petiole has one segment which, when viewed from above, is hidden by the rest of the abdomen. There is a slit at the tip of the abdomen instead of a circlet of hairs. the best identifying characteristic is the “rancid butter” smell these ants produce when they are crushed; hence their name. When alarmed, the workers scurry around with their abdomens raised in the air.
These ants swarm to mate from early May through mid-July, and also mate in the nest, forming new colonies by “budding” off the original colony. A colony has approximately 10,000 workers and several queens, each laying one egg a day. Developmental time (egg to adult) is 34-83 days; however, during the winter, it may take six to seven months. There are several generations per year. Workers and queens live for several years.
Odorous house ants often nest outdoors under stones, logs, and in the nests of larger ants. They can also nest indoors in wall or floor voids, around heat sources, (e.g., hot water pipes and heaters, crevices around sinks and cabinets). Odorous house ants travel in trails and prefer sweets, although they eat almost any household food. They usually invade structures during rainy periods after honeydew on plants has washed
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