Sweet Ants


 

 

 

Odorous House Ants, commonly known as Sweet Ants, are a scavenger/predator ant that will eat most household foods, especially those that contain sugar, and other insects. Indoors they will colonize near heat sources or in insulation. In hot and dry situations, nests have been found in house plants and even in the lids of toilets. Outdoors they tend to colonize under rocks and exposed soil. They appear, however, to form colonies virtually anywhere, in a variety of conditions. They can trail extensive distances (though their trails are rarely longer than 50 feet), usually along landscape edges. Colonies range in size from 100-10,000, and house several queens (as many as 200, in some instances). They are non-aggressive. While queens can lay as many as 20-30 eggs in single day, they lay only 1-2 (or less) eggs per day on average over long periods of time. Typical time to adult phase of development is 34–38 days. It is believed that queens and male ants are only produced in larger colonies.

Odorous house ants have been observed collecting honeydew to feed on from aphids, scale insects, and membracids.

They appear to be more likely to invade homes after rain (which washes away the honeydew they collect).

Odorous house ants appear to be highly tolerant of other ants, with compound nests consisting of multiple ant species having been observed.

They range in color from brown to black and range in length from 1/16 to 1/8 inches (1.5–3.2 mm). Their antennae have 12 segments.

Little is known about the lifespan of the ant, though it has been shown that queens can live at least 8 months (and probably much longer), workers at least a few months (and show every indication of living as long as queens), and males appear to live only approximately a week.

The odorous house ant is very tough, and injured workers have been observed to continue living and working with little hindrance. Some queens with crushed abdomens could still lay eggs, and there are documented instances of queens surviving without food or water for over two months. They also appear highly tolerant to hot and cold temperatures.