The most common nuisance ant found in our Florida homes is the small, but mighty, Odorous House Ant (OHA).
The OHA is also commonly referred to as sugar ant, stink ant, and coconut ant (when crushed, the ant gives off a coconut smell). These ants are often seen traveling in trails along kitchen counters, cabinets, and baseboards.
Odorous House Ants feed on sweets, meats, grease, dairy products, pastries, vegetables, and fruit juices. They especially love foods containing sugar/sweeteners.
This ant is very small, dark brown to black in color. Colony size can range from a single colony with one Queen and hundreds of workers to multiple colonies (with many Queens) and thousands of workers. The OHA can nest outdoors or indoors with nests built in wall voids inside our homes.
Due to their trailing habits, the OHA is a safety concern as it can track germs and bacteria across our home while it contaminates our food.
The biggest mistake many DIY homeowners make is using repellants to exterminate the OHA. Most chemical sprays homeowners purchase from big box hardware stores are repellants (meaning the chemical may kill a few ants while it repels them. This may cause a small colony to break up and create multiple colonies (called “budding”). The ants will simply find another way around the chemical spray. These repellant sprays also have a short useful life and may only last a few days on the exterior of the home.
Leave It To The Professionals
Your pest management professional should be able to identify the ant and determine the best product to eradicate the OHA. This will require a thorough inspection to determine the entry points, areas of infestation, and location of the colony/colonies.
Eradicating an established OHA infestation may require more than one treatment and the use of baits, chemical sprays, and habitat modification such as caulking entry points, cleaning, repairing leaks, or educating the customer on food storage practices. OHAs are often attracted to our homes when seeking moisture. They often enter our homes through gaps/cracks in doors/windows, soffits, and attics. Vegetation, tree limbs, and landscaping should be kept away from the home as the OHA uses our landscaping to enter the home.
Almost without fail, each time we find an OHA infestation, we will also find leaking sprinklers around the home. Not only can leaking sprinklers cost you money, but they also provide needed moisture to a host of pests/insects. If you want a pest-free home, you need to maintain the sprinkler system and correct leaks quickly.