Acrobat ants get their name from their tendency to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their heads when they sense danger. Their abdomen is heart-shaped when you look at them from above (areal view).
Acrobat ants grow to a maximum length of 3.5mm long. Most of them emit a bad odor when disturbed. Those that do so are also known as odorous ants. They produce winged males and females which are referred to as the swarmers.
These are the reproductive population and tend to fly out of the nest to mate. After mating the females will disperse to become queen ants in their own colonies. They then start laying eggs to which the worker ants tend.
Where do acrobat ants live?
Acrobat ants are quite common and they can nest indoors and outdoors. They love nesting in moist and damp places. If they infest your home, those ants nest under damp carpets and other warm and moist areas.
Outdoors, they can be found in stumps, under the stones and woodpiles as well as in rotting logs. When they invade the house, they will be found in foam sheathing or near a leaking skylight in the roofing.
Acrobat ants like nesting in places where there is an infestation of carpenter ants or termites. They will clear scattered pieces of wood that have been destroyed by other ant species so that they can live there. They do this by pushing wood scraps and dirt out of these hideouts.
What do acrobat ants eat?
When these ants infest a home, they like feeding on meat and sweets. They can however also feed on insects and on honey drew. Since the honeydew is excreted by insects that feed on sap such as aphids, the acrobat ants tend to protect them.
There are various ways through which acrobat insects enter a home. At times they only make a trail on the ground. This is done by the worker ants. They will then take advantage of construction gaps and door thresholds to gain entry.
Tree twigs and shrubs are another way through which they can access a home. They follow these to the points where they touch houses and gain entry through them.
Utility lines are also another place where they could make their trails. They can gain entrance through the openings that wires and pipes go through.
Are acrobat ants dangerous?
Yes, acrobat ants are dangerous when disturbed and they will defend themselves by stinging, biting, and producing a bad odor. However, they will never attack you and if this happens, it is just bad luck or you are messing with them.
Acrobat ants are also a danger to your property. This is because they can cause damage to insulated wires leaving them exposed.
This can be a great hazard to anyone in the building. If you notice them around electrical lines, you should use natural ways to eliminate ants to get rid of them as fast as possible.
If these ants find their way into your kitchen, they will contaminate your food and cereals by dropping pieces of dead insects that they have eaten there. They love meat and if you have any that is not refrigerated, those ants will swarm in to eat them.
However, the fact that they live on wood does not mean that acrobat ants feed on wood. They just like living in those areas and in the process of removing any pieces that they find there, you may think that they are destroying the wood.
How to get rid of acrobatic ants
These ants will gain access through various openings and nest in favorable areas. The most obvious sign of an infestation is a trail of ants as they forage for food. The presence of debris as the ants excavate to build their nests is another sign.
First, identify where they are nesting. This can be achieved through a thorough inspection and following the ant’s trail. By following their trail, one is in a position to identify where their food source, as well as their nest, is.
In case the problem is a result of a moisture problem, this should be fixed before trying to exterminate the ants. This may require that one trims trees and shrubs around their home.
Vents and any damaged screens should be repaired. Use caulk to seal openings in utility lines. In case there are some through where electricity wires go through, call an electrician to have them sealed. Locating the nest may be hard but with persistence, it is possible to locate it.
Once the nests have been located, use baits to get rid of the ants. After that, the following techniques can be used to keep them under control and prevent re-infestation.
- Clean the gutters and ensure the downspouts are directed away from the foundation of the home.
- Store food in saleable containers
- Keep any honeydew-producing insects in check as these provide an attractant for the ants.
- Seal the crevices and cracks to prevent acrobatic ants from getting entryways to your home.
You can also use natural repellents like peppermint to keep those ants from following the same trail to their nest. This is best done by doping some peppermint essential oil where they crawl. Fresh peppermint leaves can also be used to deter and keep acrobat ants away.
The control measures will depend on where the ants are nesting. One has to locate their nest first for the treatment to be effective. Those ants are among the insects that look like termites at their early stages. Therefore it is important to identify them properly.
When they are on the ground, one may have to rake off the ground to expose the nest. After this, the nest, their trail, and entry point to keep them off your property. The form of treatment could be liquid insecticides, dust insecticides, or using attractants.
Acrobat ant control requires patience and a plan to be successful. The first step on how to get rid of acrobat ants is to inspect the infested area and identify where their nest is.
This will probably be in an area where there are insulation, decayed logs, termite galleries and voids in houses. To identify this place, follow their trails. This will lead to both their food source and their nest.
After recognition of their nesting area. One has to make use slow acting ant baits to ensure that the whole colony is eliminated. Liquid insecticides can work well as nest treatments. This will penetrate the nest and get to the whole colony.
Treating the trails is also essential. Do this at their entry points and hiding places as well. Areas of high activity should also be treated with high residual insecticides. This will not only kill any existing ones but also prevent budding of the ants which occurs when ants form new colonies.
Acrobat ants infestation in Oklahoma
Just like other places all over the world, Tulsa faces acrobat ant infestations. The moderate winters and humid summer in this part of Oklahoma make it ideal for these and other pests.
They survive easily here. With growing populations and more landscaping, these insects have more access to food and water.
This drives the need for quality and experienced acrobat ants control. This can be done by individuals or by the various professionals available within the area. The end result should be an extermination of the ants in their whole populations.
- Terminix: Are acrobat ants attracted to wood?
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Acrobat ants: Home & Garden Inf