Acrobat ants belong to the Crematogaster genus and they are common house pests that are known to establish indoor nests, cause power outages and electrical damage by chewing on wires, nest within woodwork, destroy insulation and invade and damage electronic devices and appliances. These ants are also unusually aggressive toward humans, and while their sting is benign, their bites are often fairly painful. In addition to their painful sting, acrobat ants also secrete a foul odor from their bodies when they become disturbed. Several acrobat species throughout the US are categorized as pests, but the most significant and destructive species inhabit the southwest.
Some acrobat ant species nest within desert soil and decaying vegetation, while others nest in dead tree branches, rotting logs, soil, and some species manufacture carton to build nests. Acrobat ants are small to medium sized ants, as workers are between 2.5 and 4 mm in length, and their body colors vary from black to brown to reddish-yellow. These ants feed on insects and honeydew gathered by insects, so naturally, they often infest protein-rich and sugar-heavy stored food products within homes. Colonies can be relatively large and contain multiple queens, and workers often establish multiple nests within inaccessible indoor areas like wall voids, floor voids, crawl spaces, and tight attic spaces. Winged swarmers known as “alates” emerge every year from May until September in order to mate and establish new colonies.
Poorly ventilated crawl space structures, overgrown vegetation along foundation walls, clogged gutters, improper rainwater drainage, and unkempt lawn grass cause moisture to build up below and around houses, which attracts acrobat ants. Once acrobat ants congregate around foundations, they find easy access indoors where they seek out food sources. Trimming shrubs and other plants, unclogging gutters, minimizing mulch, and clearing and screening crawl space openings to enhance ventilation and provide a pest barrier are just a few things that homeowners can do to avoid acrobat ant infestations.
Have you ever found ants in your refrigerator?