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odorous house ant ODOROUS HOUSE ANT
Tapinoma sessile
(larger picture)
Description: Odorous house ant workers are brown to black and 1/16-to 1/8-inch long. The thorax has no spines, and the petiole has one segment which, when viewed from above, is hidden by the rest of the abdomen. There is a slit at the tip of the abdomen instead of a circlet of hairs. The best identifying characteristic is the "rancid butter" smell these ants produce when they are crushed; hence their name. When alarmed, the workers scurry around with their abdomens raised in the air.

Habits: Odorous house ants often nest outdoors under stones, logs, and in the nests of larger ants. They con also nest indoors in wall or floor voids, around heat sources, (e.g., hot water pipes and heaters, crevices around sinks and cabinets). Odorous house ants travel in trails and prefer sweets, although they eat almost any household food. They usually invade structures during rainy periods after honeydew on plants has washed off.