Property owners who discover that they have a problem with acrobat ants may have had a previous issue with carpenter ants or termites in their Bristol-area home or office since the acrobat ant likes to use damaged wood to establish new nests within man-made structures.
Once established, the ants forage for food, usually in the kitchen. Moisture also attracts acrobat ants. Their presence may indicate a leak somewhere on the property.
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 most easily distinguished from other ant species through their habit of lifting their abdomen above their heads when they are alarmed. At the same time, they emit a noticeably unpleasant odor.
When going about their routine, the acrobat ant may be identified by its size. Adults typically measure just 5.4 millimeters, and their abdomens are shaped like a heart. There are several species of acrobat ant. Most of them are black or brown, though some may be red.
In their natural habitat, acrobat ant nests are always found near moisture. They prefer secluded spots, so the nest may be located beneath a stone or within a rotting stump. A fallen tree is another excellent nesting site as is a woodpile.
Man-made structures are attractive to acrobat ants. They gain access through gaps left during construction or over the threshold of a door. Any holes or cracks in the exterior may provide an entrance. Acrobat ants also make use of tree or shrub branches that touch the exterior of buildings.
When available, acrobat ants use the galleries left behind by termites and carpenter ants. They may clean out these spaces, pushing dirt and debris out through the openings. Many nests are discovered behind siding, though nests may be built anywhere that wood is damp or damaged. Some nests are even discovered in attics when roofs and skylights have leaks.
Protein and sugar are the staple foods of the acrobat ant diet. The protein is most often supplied by insects. Sugar is acquired from insects like aphids that feed on sap. These insects then secrete honeydew, which is consumed by acrobat ants. The species values this food source so much that they will protect aphids and other insects that secrete honeydew.
The acrobat ant's eating habits remain the same when they are inside human habitations. They focus on meats and sweet items like syrups, jam, honey and any desserts.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Primarily considered a nuisance pest, acrobat ants nonetheless may cause headaches. They are known to bite people, particularly when they are disturbed close to their nest.
Acrobat ants may make use of the damage caused by carpenter ants or termites, but they do not exacerbate it. Nonetheless, they are capable of contaminating human food, and many people find the presence of ants in their home distasteful and unsightly.
Acrobat ant workers are the individuals that are most likely to be seen outside of the nest. Their main function is foraging for food, and they can be quite intent on their task. In fact, acrobat ants that are disturbed during their quest for a meal may raise their abdomens above their heads, give off an unpleasant odor and bite.
This species typically is discovered in a long, trailing line that leads from the nest to a food source. They relentlessly march between the two destinations, ensuring that the colony is well fed. Any means may be used to reach a food source within a building. A line of ants may be discovered trailing along the ground, across wiring or on a tree branch. It is not unusual for this species to forage for food at a distance of as much as 100 feet from the colony's nest.
Acrobat ants further have a habit of "farming" or "tending" aphids and other troubling garden pests. These insects are a source of food for the acrobat ant, but their presence can be a nuisance for people trying to grow flowers and produce.
Acrobat ants are not known to cause any medical problems in most people. In fact, bites rarely occur. When they do, mild irritation is the most common outcome. A small percentage of people may experience a more severe reaction requiring medical treatment.
People with respiratory ailments or impairments may experience increased symptoms when an acrobat ant infestation is underway. This is because of the species' tendency to push dirt, dust and debris out of existing insect galleries. These small particles may get picked up by heating, cooling and ventilation systems, thereby causing respiratory difficulties.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
Acrobat ant control may be necessary if the following signs are present:
• Small pieces of foam and insulation found on the ground around the foundation • Moisture problems or leaks on the property • Trails of ants moving from or to a food source • Dead ants, typically in the vicinity of the nest
To avoid issues with acrobat ants the following precautions should be taken
• Do not keep woodpiles close to structures • Trim trees and shrubs so that they do not touch buildings • Routinely inspect for and remove or repair any rotting or damaged wood • Repair water leaks as soon as they are discovered • Fill in or seal any cracks or openings in building exteriors • Rid the property of rotting stumps and fallen trees
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 Bristol 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.