What You Should Know About Acrobat Ants and How to Get Rid of Them
Acrobat ants (Crematogaster spp.) may not be quite as cool as they sound (they're not exactly "acrobats"), but at least they are little more than nuisance pests, especially when compared to other ant species. They got their acrobat nickname because of their tendency to raise their abdomen up over their head and body (almost making them look like they're about to spring upward into the air)--they usually only pull this maneuver when disturbed or threatened. Acrobat ants are known to bite/sting however, when their colony is disturbed.
You will find different species of this ant all through the continental United States, up to altitudes of about 8,000 feet.
How to Identify Acrobat Ants
Acrobat ants are tiny compared to other ant species, typically varying in color from a light tannish-brown to black, and measuring about 1/8” (3.2 mm) in length (Queen Acrobat ants are a bit larger, measuring up to 3/8" (10 mm) in size). Acrobat ants have a segmented body and from above, their abdomen appears heart-shaped (and yes, they have stingers).
Where do You Find Acrobat Ants?
Acrobat ants (like Carpenter ants) prefer to nest in damp or rotting wood. Colonies are likely to be found in tree stumps, voids, logs, dead limbs, and in other yard clutter. Damp, rotting areas in fences, decks, railings, and terracing are also prime nesting locations for these pests.
Most Acrobat ant indoor infestations originate outdoors, but indoors, areas with damp, rotting wood (caused by water leaks) are attractive to them when they get inside. Around the house's perimeter, these indoor nests are common (e.g., soffits, skylights, and door frames).
Do I Have an Acrobat Ant Infestation?
Acrobat ants will typically forage for food and water relatively close to their nests, so you might also see their activity along the foundation of your home. They are also known to use utility wires, and branches touching your roof and side of your home, as bridges to get indoors.
Similar to Pavement ants, one surefire sign of these ants being nearby is the clusters of dirt and wood/insulation debris you'll notice as they burrow near your home's perimeter.
How do You Get Rid of Acrobat Ants?
Place an effective ant bait (or ant bait stations) in areas where you are seeing Acrobat ant activity. Watch to make sure the ants are feeding on the baits and let the ants continue feeding for several days (they are eating the bait and returning to their colonies to share the bait--this is a good thing!).
You may also use an effective ant and roach killer spray for spot treatment. Just be sure to NOT spray in or near areas where you've placed bait, because it will drive the ants away.
Maggie’s Farm Yard Bug Spray can be used around the perimeter of your house to create a repellent barrier of protection by preventing Argentine ants from getting inside. It will also kill them on contact. Plan to repeat spraying about every 45 – 60 days.
How do You Prevent Acrobat Ants?
Need some tips to help prevent Acrobat ants? The following preventive measures will go a long way to help keep these pests away.
- Keep food in tightly sealed containers, don't leave dirty dishes in the sink, and keep food and drink spills wiped up. Wipe and sweep up crumbs as well.
- Seal all exterior cracks and crevices in the foundation and around doors and windows. Also seal up openings around pipes and utility lines, and crevices in the foundation.
- Screen vents and repair damaged window and door screens.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed back from the side of the structure so that they don't touch the side of your house.
- Move firewood piles and remove tree debris away from the side of your home. Tree stumps in your yard might need removal as they make prime Acrobat ant nesting sites.
Check for moisture damage around a home (peeling paint, mold, fungal growth, or deteriorating wood along soffits and around window frames). Such damage might attract Acrobat ants (along with Carpenter ants and other wood-destroying pests like termites).
If an infestation seems overwhelming and unmanageable, you may need to call a pest control company. A professional perimeter treatment around the foundation may be necessary.
For more help with ants, read the following articles:
What are your favorite ant control tips and tricks? We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below!
For scientifically-tested, effective ant control in your home, yard, and garden that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.