The Odorous Ants of the Pacific Northwest
The odorous ants emit an acrid, rotting coconut smell when crushed, this is what gives this ant its name. This ant is up to 1/4 cm long with a reddish brown to black colored body. If the odorous ant perceives a threat, it may move in quick motions while raising its abdomen in the air.
The odorous ant is found all over the BC coast. These ants will nest indoors and outdoors. Inside, odorous ants may nest in warm places like wall crevices, near heaters or water pipes and beneath floors.
Outside the odorous ant nests under rocks and soil but have been found to nest just about everywhere. Odorous ants leave trails up to 15 meters long that connect colonies to satellite colonies and food sources. The colony of an odorous ant is very large, sometimes containing as many as 10,000 workers and several queens. A queen odorous ant will produce thousands of worker ants and hundreds of reproductive ants in a reproductive cycle.
The odorous ant’s diet consists mainly of the honeydew of aphids, and will even care for young aphids in order to harvest their honeydew. The odorous ant will also feed on anything sweet, including food items in your kitchen. It may also eat living or dead insects. The odorous ant is a predator, scavenger, and forager and will search for food night and day.
Queen odorous ants lay as many as 30 eggs in one day, but on average, lay one or two eggs a day. After eggs are laid in a newly formed nest, worker ants care for the larvae and adult ants emerge in about 38 days. Colonies of odorous ants can contain up to 10,000 individuals. Queen odorous ants are thought to live up to eight months, workers a few months, and males only about a week.