According to Pest World, tapinoma sessile, or the odorous house ant, gets its name from the strong, almost rotten coconut odor that is emitted when the ant is crushed. Pest world states that they range in size from about 1/16 of an inch to 1/8 of an inch long. School of Ants describes the worker ants as 2.4 to 3.35 millimeters in size.
School of Ants states that the odor emitted when the ant is crushed is their primary defense against predators. Unlike some ants, odorous house ants do not have stingers to protect themselves. When an odorous house ant feels threatened, it runs around haphazardly and sprays the odor from its anal glands. Although this does not necessarily bother humans, it is effective against many predators of similar size to the ant.
Pest World explains that when odorous house ants nest indoors, they more commonly nest near places that offer moisture such as doormats and underneath sinks. When the ants nest outdoors they are generally found under rocks, potted plants, garbage cans and exposed soil. These ants like to eat sweets, and are particularly fond of honeydew, which is a sugary liquid that is produced by small insects called aphids. They also eat other sugary foods left out by humans, and even dead insects and spiders. When nesting outside, these ants often get their sugar from flower nectar and honeydew.