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 Puerto Rico

Acrobat ants commonly invade homes and businesses across Puerto Rico. They get their name from the workers’ habit of raising their abdomen above their heads, looking like tiny gymnasts. These ant pests typically build nests in damp, decaying or rotting wood. Acrobat ants practice mutualism, which means they tend aphids and feed on the honeydew that the aphids produce. They become an issue for homeowners when they nest in trees and decayed wood around the home, in places like porches and eaves.

Acrobat Ant Habitat

Outside, acrobat ants prefer to nest in trees. Inside, acrobat ants typically move into old or abandoned galleries previously built by carpenter ants or termites. These abandoned galleries are often in wood, house voids, insulation, and more. The acrobat feeds on sugars, proteins, and dead insects. Acrobat ants prefer to infest damp or rotting wood, which is often found around windows and drain spouts. These ants usually enter buildings through small cracks or crevices, electrical lines, or tree limbs. Once inside, they can be quite the nuisance. When foraging for food, these ant pests prefer kitchen cabinets and pantries. Their presence, whether indoors or outdoors, indicates that you have decaying wood.

Acrobat Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Worker acrobat ants have been known to bite aggressively and release an offensive odor when disturbed. Mild reactions are common and may last from a few hours to a few days. However, the real threat posed by acrobat ants is their ability to create a fire hazard. They construct nests in woodwork and insulation, stripping the insulation off of wires, and causing short circuits, creating a fire hazard. If an acrobat ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.