1/8 to 1/4 inch long


Yellow-brown to black with shiny bodies and a darker heart-shaped abdomen,

Generally nesting outdoors in damp and rotting wood in trees, fences, decks and railings, these ants often build their nests in cavities carved out by other insects. When damp wood is present, they may move into buildings and nest in wall voids.

Trailing behavior may be noticed along fence tops and utility lines which acrobat ants will follow into buildings. Unlike carpenter ants, acrobat ants do not pose a structural threat to buildings. However, acrobat ants are aggressive and territorial. They have a stinger, emit a foul odor when threatened and are quick to bite.

Acrobat ants eat sweets and proteins but prefer to feed on aphid honeydew.

When compared with other pestiferous ant species, acrobat ants are usually of minimal nuisance to people. Homeowners may complain that these ants are in the yard and foraging outside the home. They may nest in trees on the homeowner's property or in decayed wood around the home in places like porches and eaves (Ferster et al. 2000). They are uncommon indoors, but may be observed foraging for sweets or protein inside. When they are found nesting in the home, they infest damp or rotting wood often around windows and drain spouts. They may also be found in damp foam board or insulation. These ants do minimal damage to wood, but their frass may be of concern to homeowners. Their presence also indicates the presence of wet and/or decaying wood (Swoboda and Miller 2003).

Acrobat Ant Prevention Tips

  • Management can be accomplished by sealing exterior cracks through which workers enter.
  • Removing branches or rotten logs and stumps will usually remove the nest site and the problem. Cutting away branches and tree material that touches the home will further remove the ant’s access to the home.
  • Eliminating piles of lumber, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
  • Acrobat ant colonies that live in the walls may be treated by eliminating damp wood and other sources of moisture.
  • Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
  • Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation

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