Odorous house ants are common throughout the U.S. It is perhaps the most challenging type of ant to control, since it readily infests buildings. The common name originates due to the pungent, coconut-type odor emitted when crushed. Odorous house ants are small, 1/16"- 1/8" long, with dark bodies. There is a small node on the pedicel, but it is usually hidden. Colonies are not huge, with a typical colony numbering not more than about 100,000. Odorous house ants have a tendency to nest in structures around pipes, cupboards and cabinets, in walls, and between insulation and subflooring in crawlspaces.

Commonly, several nests may be found in one structure. They may also nest outside under stones or other obstructions, in dirt-filled porches, and mulch areas. Odorous house ants will forage great distances, with one recent observation being a foraging distance of more than 100 feet from the nest; however, typically the foraging distance is less. These ants prefer sweet materials such as honey, sugar, and baked goods. Some areas of the country call these ants "sweet ants" or "sugar ants." They will, however, feed on fats such as bacon grease found in containers under kitchen sinks. Odorous house ant control requires thorough inspection to find the source.