Odorous Ants

  • Scientific Name: Tapinoma minutum

Odorous ants

Scientific Name:

Tapinoma minutum

How to identify Odorous ants

Odorous ants (Tapinoma minutum) have a distinct odour similar to rancid butter when crushed.  They have one small flattened node on pedicel (almost hidden by the abdomen. They are 2.0-3.0 mm in size and brown to dark brown in colour. 

Where are odorous ants normally found?

The Odourous ant will typically nest within buildings in walls, under stoves and in cupboards, and in subfloor voids. They seldom swarm.

Why are odorous ants considered pests?

Most ant species are not considered to be pests with only a few native and introduced species causing some concern.

Some nest in decaying timber and may be suspected of actually destroying it whereas they will only infest decaying timber. Most foraging workers come from the exterior of premises but it is not particularly uncommon to find nests in roof voids, cavity walls, behind skirting boards, inside motors, inside window screens, under bath tubs, behind tiles in bathrooms and kitchens and behind taps.

In short, they like similar locations to cockroaches and as a result, control methods are very similar. Because of their nesting habits, it is common to find piles of gritty material on the floor or other horizontal surfaces or around door and window frames. On closer inspection, these piles may be found to contain dead ants which have been thrown out of the nest. No matter how often you sweep up the mess, it will re-appear as long as the ants are active.

This habit of making a little mess is not a mammoth problem but ants do become a nuisance when they are spotted walking inside pantries and getting into food containers, trailing along bench tops, window sills, skirting boards, bath tubs and invading shower recesses.

What is the biology and lifecycle of odorous ants?

The queens lay the eggs which incubate between 11–26 days. After hatching, the larval stage lasts between 13–29 days, and the pre-pupal and pupal stages last between 10–24 days. Little is known about the lifespan of the ant, though it has been shown that queens 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), while males appear to live only approximately a week. 

Management Tips for Odorous Ants

Effective control depends upon a number of factors:
  1. The particular species involved,
  2. The location of the nest site(s) and,
  3. The degree of concern they are causing the occupants.

It may be easy to control a colony with a single queen (Camponotus spp), or difficult in the case of species with multiple queens and multiple “homes” and which do not display aggression to workers from other nests (Argentine ants, Odorous house ants and Pharaoh’s ants). That is why correct identification is essential before you begin your campaign.

Ant granules were perfect for the control of some ant species to exterior areas. Most insecticide manufacturers suggest that a two-pronged approach with both baits and liquid sprays be used in order to obtain best results. These manufacturers all supply bulletins with complete instructions on how to use their products. The product labels and these bulletins should all be studied before using any of the materials.

The basic rules for the use of baits are:
  • The basic premise is that bait should hopefully be consumed within 1 to 2 days when their palatability and moisture content are highest. The ants should die within 3 to 4 days.
  • Correct identification – by knowing the species, you can choose the right bait for the job and can also help you find their feeding, trailing and nesting sites.
  • Find the trails – you must place the bait where the ants are otherwise you are wasting time and bait. If the ants aren’t active at the time, you can pre-bait first with non-toxic foodstuffs. This will help you determine where the ants are feeding and what type of food they prefer.
  • Choose the correct bait formulation, they may prefer sweet foods or protein based materials. Sometimes the same species will change food preferences depending upon seasons or other conditions. Therefore, you need to have a range of baits in your kit bag. If you just put a small blob of each bait in the ant trails, you will very soon find which they prefer.
Some key rules to observe are:
  • Place the bait as close as possible to ant trails which are usually near feeding or nesting sites.
  • Place adequate amounts of bait out to ensure that they will continue to feed until your next visit. By placing the bait in purpose designed “ant cafes,” you will extend the life of the bait.
  • Avoid food competition by asking the client to remove available foodstuffs and liquids.
  • Avoid placing gel baits near sources of heat as the gel matrix may become liquefied and moisture loss may increase. Also, avoid placing them on dry or porous surfaces which may increase water loss and make them less palatable to ants.
  • Some baits lose their potency after only a few days exposure to sunlight. Make sure that you know which they are and replace them as required.
  • Some granulated baits lose their potency around three months after the container has been opened. Make sure that you write on the container the date on which it was opened.
  • A common piece of advice is that you mustn’t place baits on surfaces that have or will be treated with liquid or powder insecticides. Studies carried out by some researchers have indicated that this is not the case and the baits are still palatable. Some pest managers have stated, “Why waste money by applying two formulations?” and that is probably a good rule to live by. You may be able to control the ant problem without the use of insecticidal sprays and dusts but, all manufacturers recommend that bait applications are supplemented by the use of such formulations when treating free standing buildings. These insecticidal barriers will serve to prevent future ant activity to the interior.
The basic rules for the use of residual insecticide sprays are:
  • Non-repellent formulations are considered superior to repellent formulations e.g. synthetic pyrethroids, as the ants will track through the non-repellent insecticide unknowingly. Examples of non-repellent actives and formulations are Bendiocarb (Ficam), Fipronil (Termidor), Indoxacarb (Arilon), Chlorfenapyr (Phantom).
  • The sprays should be applied as a barrier to the base of foundation walls, fence lines and garden beds.
  • Re-application of the sprays may be necessary after rain.
  • Insecticidal dusts should be applied to roof voids where practical.


Each pest control product is registered for use in specific environments, situations, pest life stages and other key factors. Please always consult the product label for detailed information about how to use each product.

Seclira Pressurised Insecticide 397g
5g/kg Diontefuran

Seclira Pressurised Insecticide is a fast-acting, non-repellent, ready-to-use product with System III compatibility for the control of a broad range of pests including ants, and cockroaches.

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Seclira WSG Insecticide
400g/kg Dinotefuran

Seclira® WSG insecticide is a non-staining, odourless, broad spectrum, general insect control product for indoor and outdoor use.

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Termidor SC Residual Termiticide
100g/L Fipronil

Termidor SC Residual Termiticide and Insecticide provides superior levels of control across subterranean termites, ants, cockroaches, spiders, and flies.

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Suspend Flexx Insecticide
25g/L Deltamethrin

Suspend Flexx Insecticide is a synthetic pyrethroid (3A) formulation for the knockdown and residual control of a range of insect pests in various indoor and outdoor situations.

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Biflex Aqua Max Insecticide and Termiticide
100g/L Bifenthrin

Biflex AquaMax is the first ever Professional Strength, multi-insecticide and termiticide. Effective on a wide range of common household pests and all termite species in Australia.

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PCO Deltamethrin 10SC
10g/L Deltamethrin

PCO Deltamethrin 10SC is formulated for the control of a range of insect pests, Cockroaches, Web-spinning Spiders, Non web-spinning Spiders, Ant, Fleas, Silverfish, Bed Bugs, Bird Mite, Carpet Beetle, Clothes Moth, Mosquitoes, House Flies, Stored Product Pests in various situations.

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PCO Deltamethrin Tetramethrin 10SC 5L
10g/L Deltamethrin, 10g/L Tetramethrin, 80g/L Piperonyl Butoxide

PCO Deltamethrin Tetramethrin is formulated for the control of a range of insect pests including: Ants, Cockroaches, Fleas, Silverfish, Spiders, Bird Mites, Carpet Beetles, Clothes Moths, Bed Bugs House Flies and Mosquitoes in various situations.

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PCO Fipronil 100SC Termiticide and Insecticide
100g/L Fipronil

PCO Fiponil 100SC is a cost effective non-repellent termiticide and insecticide for the control of Termites and nuisance ants. Formulated in Australia to a high standard.

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Arilon Insecticide
200g/kg Indoxacarb

Arilon® is a non-repellent insecticide which provides excellent control of ants, cockroaches and other key insect pest species on a variety of interior and exterior surfaces.

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Demand 100CS Insecticide
100g/L Lambda-Cyhalothrin

Demand 100CS is a cost effective and long lasting insecticide for the controls of ants, cockroaches, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, silverfish and spiders for up to up to 12 months indoors and up to 3 months outdoors. It can be applied to foliage for up to 14 weeks of mosquito control.

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Antagonist PRO Insecticide 1L
80g/L Bifenthrin

ANTagonist PRO insecticide is a suspension concentrate formulation containing a Polymer Enhanced Synthetic Pyrethroid approved for the treatment of ants, spiders, wasps, cockroaches, mosquitoes, midges, fleas, flies, ticks, termites and turf pests including lawn armyworms, sod webworms, argentine stem weevil, billbug, African black beetle, ants and ornamental pest including mites, aphids, caterpillars, loopers, earworm, budworm, light brown apple moth, whitefly, mealybug, thrips and cutworms.

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Delta Pro 25SC Professional Insecticide
25g/L Deltamethrin

For the control of a range of insect pests such as spiders, cockroaches, flies, ants, mosquitoes in various situations.

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Ensnare Pro 50SC Insecticide 1L
50g/L Indoxacarb

EnsnarePRO is a non-repellent residual suspension concentrate spray. It can be used in conjunction with baits without reducing the performance of the bait. Ants, cockroaches and flies don’t know it’s there. The ‘non-repellent’ properties of this formulation does not interfer with insects natural behaviour...

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Quench Pro Liquid Ant Bait
0.05g/kg Imidacloprid

QuenchPRO is a ready-to-use liquid ant bait in a low dose that is effective against many common pest ants in indoors and outdoors situations. It contains a sweet based bait matrix that foraging ants are attracted to.

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Anthem Insecticide Granules
0.5g/kg Fipronil

Anthem Insecticide Granule contains 0.5g/kg of Fipronil and is used for the control of Argentine stem weevil, mole crickets and ants in commercial and recreational turf and control of ants in external surrounds of buildings and structures

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Chaindrite Perforce 500 Residual Insecticide
500 g/L Permethrin

Chaindrite Perforce 500 Residual Insecticide is formulated for the control of a broad range of insects in various situations as per the Directions for Use table.

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Fipforce Dust Termiticide and Insecticide
5g/kg Fipronil

Fipforce Dust Termiticide and Insecticide contains 5g/kg of Fipronil which is toxic to insects by contact or ingestion. FipForce Dust is applied through a hand duster to help in the control of Termites, Nuisance ants and Cockroaches. It has a mineral based carrier which flows extremely well and is less susceptible to moisture than cellulose based dusts. Less moisture build-up means less clogging of the application procedure.

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Shieldrite Crawling Insect Foam 350g
0.5g/kg Imidacloprid

Shieldrite Crawling Insect Foam is a non repellent suspension concentrate formulated into a ready to use foam for the use in the management of pest insects including Termites, European wasps, Ants, Cockroaches and Bed bugs.

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