||Light brown to black, sometimes multicolored
||Long, segmented; heart-shaped abdomen
||1/16 – 1/8” (2.5 – 4 mm)
Acrobat ants get their common name from their ability to
acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head,
especially when disturbed. There are various species of this light
brown to black ant found throughout the United States, even at
altitudes of up to 8,000 feet.
Acrobat ants typically feed on honeydew, a sugary waste excreted
by aphids and mealybugs, but they also eat live and dead insects
including termite swarmers.
Outside, most species of acrobat ants nest under rocks or in
logs, firewood and trees where wood decay allows them to create
tunnels. They also build their nests in abandoned cavities carved
out by other insects like termites and carpenter ants.
The workers often find a way inside homes by trailing along tree
limbs and utility lines, and entering through cracks or holes
around window frames, soffits, door thresholds, and other
vulnerable spots. Once inside, acrobat ants typically nest in wall
voids or wood that has been subjected to high moisture and fungal
decay - the same conditions favored by carpenter ants. They have
also been known to nest in Styrofoam insulation panels behind
Acrobat ants may bite when threatened. In some species, workers
may emit an unpleasant odor when disturbed.
These ants can also pose a risk to properties. Occasionally,
acrobat ants will strip the insulation from electrical or telephone
wires, which can cause short circuits.