Typically these ants are light brown to black in color. They are relatively small, usually measuring about 1/8” (3.2 mm) in length. Queens, however, are generally larger but can range in size up to 3/8” (10 mm) long. Acrobat ants have a segmented body and when looked down upon, the shape of their abdomen resembles a heart. These ants possess a stinger, and their antennae are 11-segment with a 3-segmented club.
Acrobat ants typically feed on honeydew, a sugary waste excreted by aphids and mealybugs. They also eat live and dead insects including termite swarmers. Upon entering a household, acrobat ants are drawn to sweets and high-protein foods like meat.
Nests are under rocks or in logs, firewood and trees where wood decay allows them to create tunnels. They also build their nests in abandoned cavities carved out by other insects such as termites and carpenter ants.
These ants can also pose a risk to properties. Occasionally, acrobat ants will strip the insulation from electrical or telephone wires, which can cause short circuits. Acrobat ants may bite when threatened. In some species, workers may emit an unpleasant odor when disturbed.
- Keep a close eye on the exterior of the home for visible signs of an acrobat ant infestation
- On the exterior of the home, seal all possible entry points with a silicone-based caulk, paying close attention to cracks around doors, windows, pipes and utility lines.
- Eliminate sources of standing water and divert water away from the home’s foundation with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the house to prevent acrobat ants from gaining entry into the home.
- Fire wood should be stored at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground