Actual Size: 2.5 to 4 mm
Characteristics: Light brown to black; heart-shaped abdomen when viewed from above.
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.
Acrobat ants are either dark brown, black or sometimes reddish-brown in color. They range from 0.25 to 0.3 centimeters in size. When you look at the abdomen (back section of an insect) you will see two nodes (bumps) connecting it to the thorax (middle section of an insect). You can differentiate termites and ants by looking at the antenna. Ants have an antenna that looks bent or elbowed while termites have a straight, beaded-looking antenna. Another key to helping identify acrobat ants is the shape of their abdomen. They have a very distinct heart-shaped abdomen. Acrobat ants are scavengers that usually feed on other insects outdoors. Indoors they will search for protein or sugar sources on which to feed. When these ants are disturbed they have a unique habit: they will hold their abdomen over their head/body as they run.
These ants usually live outdoors in soil, leaf piles, or in wood that is not sound or solid. They sometimes live in wood that has been previously hollowed out by termites or some other wood-dwelling insect. Inside homes, they can live in old termite tunnels or can live inside damp insulation. When foraging for food, these ant pests prefer kitchen cabinets and pantries. Their presence, whether indoors or outdoors, indicates decaying wood.
These ants do have a stinger and, as such, are capable of inflicting a sting. However, the pain is mild and should not last for very long. These ants are more of a nuisance than anything else. They don’t typically nest in homes, but if conditions are right and there is damp or damaged wood in the home, they may take advantage of the opportunity. A disturbing habit is their infestation of foam core panel insulation. Acrobat ants also strip the insulation off of wires, causing short circuits that create a fire hazard. If an acrobat ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.