Ants are the most common pests in Warwick. Acrobat ants are just one of the species that are frequently found in and around homes and businesses. Although they are not especially destructive, acrobat ants are a nuisance. Moreover, they are capable of stinging when agitated, and the frass that they leave behind can interfere with indoor air quality.
Acrobat ant infestations frequently are confused for infestations by other species. When this occurs, the treatment method employed is likely to be ineffective. This is just one of the reasons why it is critical to hire a reliable exterminator to identify the pest species and undertake its eradication.
Acrobat ants can be an alarming problem, and they are not easy to eradicate. In most situations, professional ant control is necessary to eliminate the problem.
Acrobat ants are quite small with adults measuring between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch. A variety of colors may be observed, ranging from a yellowish-brown to a deep black. Some individuals may even exhibit several colors.
The acrobat ant features a heart-shaped abdomen that typically is darker than their other body segments. When alarmed, the workers of this species will lift their abdomen above the rest of their body, a characteristic that gives these pests their name.
In general, acrobat ants prefer to nest outdoors. Decaying logs, leaf piles, stumps, living trees and woodpiles all are examples of likely nesting areas. However, they will enter structures through small openings such as foundation cracks and the gaps around windows and doors.
Damaged wood and damp spaces provide ideal nesting conditions once indoors. These ants frequently use wood that has been damaged by a leak, termites or carpenter ants as a nest. This may complicate identification, which is one reason why it is wise to only trust the inspection to a qualified professional. Acrobat ants may burrow deeper into damaged wood, thereby leaving behind frass that can be picked up by heating and ventilation systems.
Honeydew, a waste product that aphids and mealybugs excrete, is a staple food for the acrobat ant. In the wild, they also feed on insects whether living or dead. This reliance on sweets and proteins makes human kitchens enormously attractive. Accordingly, they are likely to eat baked goods, meat, fruits, vegetables, pet food and many other items that are not intended for their consumption.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Most home and business owners consider acrobat ants to be a mere nuisance. However, they may be responsible for more problems than most people realize. They cause little structural damage, but they do exploit existing damage. This means that wood or other building materials that are damaged by damp or other insects may sustain further injury, requiring more extensive and costly repairs.
Additionally, acrobat ants may forage far and wide in search of food. This leads them through all sorts of unsavory places like trash cans, dumpsters, sewer lines and animal carcasses. Once indoors, they leave a trail of germs, bacteria and filth wherever they go. This contaminates food preparation surfaces.
The human food that acrobat ants invade similarly becomes contaminated. In addition to the germs and bacteria that are introduced, the ants also leave behind saliva, urine and feces that make food unsafe to eat.
As acrobat ants take advantage of damaged structural components, they may drop tiny sawdust-like particles on floors and other surfaces. These waste products are not only unsightly but also may be picked up by heating and cooling systems where they contaminate indoor air.
In the fall, winged male and female swarmers emerge from the nest to mate and establish new colonies. This is a highly visible event, which means that it frequently is the first indicator that property owners have that an infestation is underway.
Acrobat ants are known to forage as much as 100 feet away from their nest in search of food. Accordingly, they may be seen trailing along foundations, plumbing pipes or utility lines.
This species rarely is aggressive. However, if they feel that they or their nest are being threatened, then they may deliver a painful sting. Medical attention may not be required except when a severe allergic reaction occurs.
The unclean conditions caused by an acrobat ant infestation are a major concern. Bacteria, germs and dirt are left behind wherever these ants travel. This means that floors may be contaminated, and this is a significant concern for parents with small children. Food preparation surfaces similarly may be contaminated. If they are not adequately cleaned, then people may develop a gastrointestinal illness.
Food poisoning may be one of the most common health concerns associated with an acrobat ant infestation. Between the filth that the species leaves in their wake and their waste products, they make food unfit for human or pet consumption. These food items must be thrown away so as to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
People with asthma or severe allergies may experience an increase in symptoms based on the piles of frass that acrobat ant excavations leave behind. Individuals who notice an increase in the severity of their symptoms may want to seek assistance from an exterminator.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
People may need acrobat ant control when they see these signs:
• A line of ants on a utility line, plumbing pipe or kitchen counter • Tiny piles of a sawdust-like substance around the property • Moisture damage • Insect damage from a prior infestation • Peeling paint, mold or fungi on buildings also may attract this species
To help avoid issues with acrobat ants the following precautions should be taken
• Place woodpiles, compost piles and yard debris piles at least 20 feet from structures • Remove decaying organic debris from gardens, especially those around buildings • Keep gutters clear • Ensure that landscape drainage systems properly guide water away from structures • Do not allow trees and plants to touch building exteriors • Use door sweeps on all exterior doors • Make certain that window and door screens do not have holes • Fill or cover any holes and gaps in building exteriors • Replace any damaged wood on the property
Effective ant control requires a thorough inspection of the building to locate all existing nests, identify the type of ant involved, locate entry points, and determine the best type of treatment.
SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC has been serving Warwick area home and business owners with successful pest control for over 20 years. Our trusted, licensed exterminators can identify the pest and implement immediate treatment so that everyone in the home or office can regain peace of mind.