Acrobat Ant

Category:

Actual Size: 2.5 to 4 mm

Characteristics: Light brown to black; heart-shaped abdomen when viewed from above.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Swarmers or reproductives have wings.

Habitat: Prefers rotting and decaying wood and will inhabit old carpenter ant or termite galleries. In homes and structures, will nest in wall voids around doors, window frames, and insulation.

Habits:

  • Rose bushes, fruit trees and any shrub that attracts aphids may contribute to an infestation.
  • Due to their ability to strip the insulation off of wires, they can cause short circuits, creating a fire hazard.
  • When excited or disturbed, acrobat ant workers will run around with their abdomens held high above their heads.

Acrobat Ants in Bristol

Here in Tennessee, acrobat ants are occasional structural pests. Their name is derived from the acrobatic pose of the workers when they are alarmed, with the abdomen raised and arched above the head. Their stinger is shaped like a spatula, which they use to wipe their venom on smaller prey. Acrobat ants tend to nest in hollow stems and twigs and they may tunnel through soft damp wood much like carpenter ants. The ants practice mutualism, which means they tend aphids and feed on the honeydew that the aphids produce. When acrobat ants nest indoors they generally nest inside wood or cavities kept moist with water from leaks.

Acrobat Ant Habitat

Out in nature, acrobat ants usually nest in the dead wood of trees, including branches, stems of trees and stumps. They are not considered pests of trees and shrubs, but they do protect aphids and other insects that are pests. When acrobat ants infest indoor areas, they will nest in the woodwork of a structure. They occasionally inhabit abandoned carpenter ant or termite galleries. When found nesting in a home, they prefer doors and window frames that have been damaged by other insects or moisture. When foraging for food, these ant pests prefer kitchen cabinets and pantries. Their presence, whether indoors or outdoors, indicates decaying wood.

Acrobat Ant Behaviors & Dangers

Acrobat ants can be a danger due to the bites they can give. Worker ants will bite aggressively and release a foul odor when provoked. Mild reactions are common and may last from a few hours to a few days. They don’t typically nest in homes, but if conditions are right and there is damp or damaged wood in the home, they may take advantage of the opportunity. A disturbing habit is their infestation of foam core panel insulation. Acrobat ants also strip the insulation off of wires, causing short circuits that create a fire hazard. If an acrobat ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.