The Acrobat Ant
Acrobat ants (genus Crematogaster) are two-noded ants that live in dark, moist places found in the wild. They get their interesting name from their ability to raise their abdomen over their head when threatened. Acrobat ants often infest human spaces and can cause damage to wood and furniture. They can bite if aggravated. This is one ant you definitely don’t want in your house, so watch out! They need moisture and wood to survive, and so is one of the very common pests found in American households.
HOW TO IDENTIFY ACROBAT ANTS
If the ants you are seeing in your house have the following features, you can be sure that they are acrobat ants –
- Light brown to black in color. Can be reddish as well
- Heart shaped abdomen
- Six Legs
- Average length 3mm
- Smaller species are uniformly dark
- Larger species are reddish in color
Appearance and Behavior
These reddish-brown or black ants are often seen running around with their abdomens held high over their heads when excited or disturbed. This is their distinctive behavior.
- Some species of acrobat ants can emit a pungent odor when disturbed or crushed.
- They feed on sweet honeydew and various other things (such as dead insects, sugar), and are commonly sighted near fruit trees and flowering bushes.
- The worker ants especially prefer sweet honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs that feed on trees and other plants.
- They prefer to nest in rotting, moist wood. Foundations of houses are often target spots for these ants.
- An infestation of these ants in your house is just a result of them looking for food.
- They usually make nests outside buildings, closer to vegetation, but if there is moist wood inside the acrobat ants will not mind shifting. Outside, acrobat ant nests are often found quite above the ground, mostly in trees. They are also found in tree stumps, hollow trees and rotting logs.
- If there are wood shavings near your furniture and you have sighted the ants around, you can be sure that there is an infestation.
- Door frames, skylights, old furniture – these areas are especially vulnerable. Acrobat ants prefer old, rotting wood, so check these areas regularly. If you see a trail of ants disappearing into these places, you need to be alert as you have an infestation on your hands.
- If the insulation around some of the wiring is missing, you have good reason to doubt acrobat ants.
- Sighting ants around leaky pipes and broken washroom cabinets. If you have leaky pipes, they may be contributing to the rotting of the wooden furniture, floorboards or walls nearby. Acrobat ants will immediately seize this opportunity and build a nest there.