Sugar ants, or odorous house ants, are common insects for us here in the PNW. They are roughly the size of a grain of rice and range from reddish-brown to black in color. They are mostly active at night, and like to hide in dark places, like behind walls or between rocks. Sugar ants prefer warm and humid climates, so they tend to be most active in the summer and spring.
Sugar Ants have a great sense of smell and can hunt down sugary substances easily. While their preference for sugary foods is common knowledge, their actual name is due to a crazy defense mechanism; these ants secret a smell when they get smushed! Generally agreed to be the smell of a “rotten coconut”, recent research suggests that the smell is closer to blue cheese. Both options, not appealing to say the least.
Do Ants Like Sugar?
Sugar ants get this familiar name because of their love of sugary substances; Honeydew sap being their fav! This ant’s diet consists of mostly of aphids, which have a very similar smell to their beloved melon sap.
It’s speculated that they are attracted to other sugary foods because it’s easy to break down and provides a high energy source with fewer calories. Sugar ants move their entire colonies about every 3 months, usually due to rain, so they need as much energy as possible for those big moves and for maintaining those nests.
Can Odorous House Ants Bite?
While it is technically possible, with these ants their smell is worse than their bite. Sugar ants are not known to bite humans unless their nest is disturbed, and since their nests are usually well hidden, it’s unlikely for a innocent bystanders to come across it. In the rare case they do bite humans, it’s easy to treat and has no lasting effects.
If you find yourself and your home with a not so sweet Sugar Ant issue, Bloom is always happy to help! Give us a call or fill our a contact form, we’d love to hear from you.