Acrobat Ants: A Unique Florida Pest
Ants may be the best-known of all pests. They have songs about them, story books about them, and entire aisles full of products intended to get rid of them. One reason ants are so common is that there are just so many varieties — different species suited for different climates.
In Florida, one common type of ant is called the acrobat ant. Since it can cause damage and can be a real nuisance to get rid of, the acrobat ant is an important type of ant to understand as a homeowner.
How Can You Distinguish Acrobat Ants From Other Ants?
At first glance, acrobat ants don’t look too different from the average pavement ant. They’re brown or black in color, about 1/8 inch long, and have obvious antennae. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll notice that the ants periodically raise their abdomens towards the sky, all while holding their heads and thoraxes in place. They appear to be contorting their bodies — thus, their name.
What Damage Do Acrobat Ants Cause?
Acrobat ants are pretty destructive, which is why you should take the time to identify them. Outside, in their natural habitat, they love building tunnels and nests in rotten wood. If you happen to have some rotten wood in your home and the ants find it, they could weaken the structure. Homeowners sometimes find acrobats tunneling in rotten window or door frames or around drain spouts.
Acrobat ants do not cause as much structural damage as termites or carpenter ants, but you still don’t want them in your home. Their frass, or feces, can stain your home and cause allergy symptoms.
Acrobat ants also bite. You’ll know if one has bitten you because the area will burn and itch. Thankfully, an over-the-counter antihistamine should take away your discomfort.
How Can You Prevent an Acrobat Ant Infestation?
Keeping these ants away from your home and yard really comes down to four main steps, which can be summarized in the acronym SETS.
S: Seal All Entryways
If there are acrobats outside in your yard or in a neighbor’s yard, sealing all possible entry points will help keep the bugs out of your home. Use caulk to seal any cracks in your door frames or window frames, and seal gaps around pipes or wires that pass through your walls.
E: Eliminate Water
Since acrobat ants love rotten wood, and water leads to rotten wood, removing any and all sources of moisture on your property will help keep the ants away.
For example, if your yard frequently develops puddles, have those low spots filled. Clean your gutters regularly, and make sure they drain away from your foundation. Eliminate water sources inside, too. Have a plumber fix leaks promptly, and use a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels down.
T: Trim Trees
Trim the trees close to your home, especially. Acrobat ants may take up residence in the tree, and then crawl down the long branches, jumping onto your roof or windows. If you keep the tree well trimmed, the ants won’t be able to make this leap.
S: Store Firewood Properly
If you have firewood, store it at least 20 feet from your home, and preferably on a palate or rack. Ants are less likely to invade the wood if it is raised off the ground, and if they do invade, at least the wood will be far from your home.
How Can You Get Rid of Acrobat Ants?
If you spot ants in your home and suspect they are acrobat ants, your best bet is to hire a professional exterminator. These ants often live between walls and in other hard-to-reach spots, and a professional can locate and treat their nest, eliminating them more effectively than you can with conventional baits and traps.
Acrobat ants can be quite a nuisance. If you suspect these six-legged creatures are calling your house a home, contact the experts at Southern Greens Pest Control at 941-747-6677.