Recently, I went on a service call for a homeowner in Brielle, NJ who complained of ants in his home. As we transition into spring, ants are starting to become more active in and around homes. Once I arrived, before beginning my inspection, I asked the homeowner where did he find the highest level of ant activity. This helps me determine where the ants may be harboring and what treatment options need to be applied. In this case, the homeowner told me he saw ants along the window sill in his living room — so that’s where I began my inspection.
Within moments, I found a few ants foraging on the window sill. Upon closer inspection, I identified these ants as odorous house ants. Odorous house ants receive their peculiar name from the strong rotten coconut smell they emit when they are crushed. They are only about 1/8 inch long, dark black to brown in color and are particularly attracted to sweets, such as pastries and sugar.
Many homeowners ask me, why is it so important to identify the ants invading your home? The reason is different species of ants have different nesting sites, food preferences, and other habits which require different methods of control. Treating ants is not one size fits all.
I had a strong hunch that the window sill wasn’t a harbor area for the odorous ants since there were only a few stragglers trailing and typically, you would see a large number of ants following a pheromone trail to and from their nest. Continuing my inspection I noticed an area around a skylight had water damage from a leak. As I traveled to the attic to inspect and I pulled a piece of insulation from the skylight and discovered an entire nest of odorous house ants!
Now that I found the source I proceeded to treat the area with a liquid non-repellent application. Once applied on the ant trail and directly on the colony, the ants will transfer this application to one another, including the queen. In a short amount of time, the entire colony will be eliminated. Since odorous house ants can have multiple queens in multiple colonies, this is the most effective treatment method. As an added measure, I placed gel bait along the baseboards, cracks, and crevices in the living room. Although the homeowner was unhappy that the level of ant infestation was so severe, he was relieved that I applied a thorough treatment.