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Odorous House Ants vs. Carpenter Ants


Within the United States alone, there are more than 700 different types of ants. Two of the most common and most annoying among them are odorous house ants and carpenter ants, each of which brings different issues to the table.

Burns Pest Elimination wants to help you identify the differences between these insects and, if you’re suffering from an infestation, figure out a solution to remove them from your home.

Odorous House Ants

Ant control begins by knowing your enemy. Common in residential and commercial properties, odorous house ants prefer warm and dry regions—Arizona pest control specialists see a lot of them for this reason—and seek out homes for both food and water. They are approximately 3mm in length and usually dark-brown or jet black with smooth, hairless bodies.

If odorous house ants make their way inside your home, it will feel like there’s nowhere safe from them. From the mulch in your houseplants to your window frames, walls, insulation, electrical sockets, under appliances, and even beneath your toilet seat, when an odorous house ant infestation begins, they make sure to let you know. If it’s not by their near-constant presence, then the distinct odor they’re named after may give them away, which has been described as rotten coconut.

Are odorous house ants dangerous?

Odorous house ants will take a liking to your kitchen. They are drawn to any crumbs and leftovers that might be lying around in addition to sweet, sticky things, posing a potential danger if they get on your food. This is because odorous ants can carry diseases that present health hazards to humans, including salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella.

Do odorous house ants bite?

No; unless very directly provoked the odorous house ant will not bite humans. These ants are harmless compared to carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ants

Although they can also create a problem for your food, carpenter ants invite a bigger issue than odorous house ants do: They destroy the structural constitution of your home. As decaying wood is one of their favorite places to build a nest, their colonies will dig tunnels through the skeleton of your building, weakening its internal stability and, at its worst, causing mass structural damage.

Among the largest ants in the U.S., carpenter ants are anywhere from 3.5mm to 13mm long and characterized by their (usually black) coloration and pronounced mandibles—their most effective tool for chewing through wood or even biting occupants of a home. They are attracted to water, sweets, and meat, so the simplest countermeasure against them is a clean and tidy house and kitchen. In dry and warm environments, these ant colonies can survive all year long, causing lasting headaches for anyone unfortunate enough to find them in their living space.

Contact the Arizona Ant Control Specialists

Whether you’re looking for Las Vegas pest control or Arizona pest removal services in the Phoenix or Tucson area, Burns Pest Elimination has you covered across the arid climates. DIY ant control methods often prove ineffective, especially with the more resilient species like carpenter ants and odorous house ants. That’s why a professional intervention is so valuable to driving these insect pests away.

If you take a few moments to answer some basic questions about your home and the problem you’re facing, we’ll offer a free pest control quote to help you start tackling the challenge!