Can Acrobat Ants Damage Your Home?

The acrobat ant (Crematogaster ashmeadi) gets its name from its habit of raising its abdomen over its head and thorax when alarmed. Although this posture looks daunting, it is actually not concerning. When compared with other ant species, acrobat ants are not much more than a minor nuisance. Nests are often found in trees, logs, firewood or under thick layers of leaf litter. Acrobat ants can nest in a number of locations like in trees and decayed wood on windows, down spouts, porches and eaves. When seen inside a home, they are foraging for a food source of sweets or protein; are nesting close to damp or rotting wood; or are located around moisture that has accumulated behind exterior insulation foam boards. These ants do minimal damage to wood, but their frass may be a minor nuisance to homeowners. Workers may occasionally bite if their colony is disturbed.

Techniques used to control acrobat ants include:

  • A thorough interior and exterior inspection and correctly identifying the ant species. Check for moisture damage, small holes and spots around your home that may have been previously infested by wood-nesting pests. A sign of acrobat ant damage is a pile of nest debris that the ants have thrown out.

  • Fix any moisture problems you may have and replace damaged wood around your home.

  • Clean gutters and make sure down spouts are directed away from your home’s foundation.

  • Use sealed containers to store food and help keep acrobat ants from invading your home to look for food sources.

  • Ants use branches to enter the home or building, so trim trees and shrubs so they do not touch the home.

  • Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation to help prevent ants from entering your home.

  • Keep honeydew-producing insects off ornamental trees and shrubs by treating for them.

  • When using insecticide materials, always seek the advice and help from your pest management professional. He or she will give you information about the materials and techniques that will produce successful results. If you choose do-it-yourself efforts, always read and follow product label directions.

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