Get rid of Acrobat ants easily. They get their name from the unusual way that they hold their rear end or “abdomen” up in the air. It’s a funny sight to see hundreds of acrobat ants crawling around with their rear end in the air! Their nests are small and often found around outdoor window frames, eaves and behind insulated trim and siding. They don’t do much damage, sting or bite. So learn how to control and get rid of Acrobat ants easily!
Get Rid of Acrobat Ants
Acrobat Ant Identification
Acrobat Ants look very similar to carpenter ants but are much smaller in size. The workers are all the same size and usually about 1/8″ in length. They are easily confused with carpenter ants due to their color, which is primarily red and dark tan to brown or black. The key identifying feature however is their abdomen.
A heart shaped abdomen that is very easy to see is their most prominent feature. The other prominent feature and the reason these ants are given the name “acrobat” is because they bend and raise their abdomen into the air. This bending and raising of their abdomen is a defensive stance to ward off other enemies and ants. When Acrobat ants are in their defensive stance with abdomens raised, it is a funny sight. All of the ants will be in a continuous trail and have their abdomens raised into the air.
This defensive stance is important to Acrobat ants because they have no other defense mechanism. They do not sting or bite. For this reason they become easy prey for other ant species, especially fire ants.
Size: 1/8 inch (2.6mm)
Color: red, brown or dark tan
Workers all same size
Where To Find Acrobat Ants
Acrobat ants nest in old carpenter ant galleries, termite galleries, in voids and insulation. Many times “frass” from insulation, foam siding and particle board will accumulate in a pile below the areas where they are nesting. Acrobat ants do not excavate wood to create galleries like the Carpenter ant, but will peel off tiny pieces and toss them into a pile. They will often nest inside foam insulation and create a mess. Also, they have been known to nest in the foam of insulated ceiling panels and wall panels. When these areas are high overhead and the foam is white, the tiny pieces of foam tossed out by the ants looks like “snow” falling from the ceiling.
How To Get Rid of Acrobat Ants
Get rid of Acrobat ants easily. It is very easy as compared to their cousin, the Carpenter ant. That’s because the acrobat ant nests are very small and usually contain only several hundred workers. Carpenter ant nests on the other hand can contain thousands of workers and their colonies can be interconnected. Using a liquid baiting strategy or a direct kill strategy often works best on both Acrobat ants and Carpenter ants.
Use Slow Acting Liquid Baits
There are no baits or products on the market designed specifically for Acrobat ant control. The best advice is to treat them like Carpenter ants since they display some of the same traits and habits. Slow acting liquid baits ensure that the workers have time to return to the nest with the “toxicant” and distribute it.
Long term control of Acrobat ants can be achieved with liquid baits. Success in controlling them is usually directly attributed to where and how often they are applied. As is the case with any liquid ant bait, a continuous source has to be available at all times, day and night.
Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel can be used successfully if you know where the nest is located. This product is a bait gel and dries within a few days. For this reason, it has to be reapplied every few days to remain effective. So multiple applications are necessary in most cases.
Most gel baits go rancid within a few days. The only way to keep these baits available is to continually apply them.
Related: KM Ant Pro Liquid Bait System
The only bait system that has proved easy to use and does not need continual reapplication is the KM Ant Pro liquid bait dispenser and Greenway Liquid Ant Bait. This is an outdoor baiting system that provides the ants with a constant food source. It also kills the workers slow enough to not “alarm” them or cause any disruption.
This combination has proved the most beneficial in University and Government funded studies. It is also used in National Parks, by major growers and in countries around the World.
Get Rid of Acrobat Ants Indoors and Outdoors
Since Acrobat ants are very seldom an indoor problem, control always begins outdoors. As is the case with most any species of ant, outdoor control is essential to not only kill existing nests, but to stop future ants from invading and establishing new nests.
For this reason, the KM Ant Pro Liquid Bait System is the preferred method for initial and long term Acrobat ant control outdoors.
In some cases, using a pesticide spray can work. Bifen IT or Temprid FX insecticides can be sprayed on the exterior of the structure where Acrobat ants are seen. Spraying around windows, doors and the foundation very thoroughly as well as a complete lawn treatment is usually necessary. This type of treatment can kill many exposed ants and just might kill enough of them to starve off the colony. Remember, worker ants gather food and take it back to the nest. When the workers are dead, the colony starves.
Bifen IT is less expensive than Temprid and kills on contact only. It will have no impact on the nest.
Temprid FX has a dual mode of action in that it kills Acrobat ants on contact, but also has a “transfer” effect which can help to kill the workers, queens and brood in the nest.
Regular applications of Bifen IT – every 2 – 3 months may be necessary to keep Acrobat ants at bay and away.
Treatment Inside Walls – Direct Kill Method
Treatments of wall voids, eaves, behind insulated siding panels and other hidden areas may also be necessary. Since outdoor spraying only kills exposed worker ants, the nest will still be alive and well – until it eventually depletes its saved food sources and starves.
In cases where outdoor spraying doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, direct applications of Timbor Dust using a small Puffer Duster may help. This is best accomplished by removing wall switch plates and covers. Removing plumbing accesses and treating around plumbing voids also helps. Drilling small holes with a hand drill and applying the dust into these voids might also be necessary.
Knowing where the Acrobat ants are located and directing your treatment into these areas will help to kill them. The benefit of Timbor Dust is that it is very low in toxicity and can last several months without the need for re-application. One application per year of Timbor Dust may be all that is necessary.
Acrobat Ant Best Control Method
As mentioned before the best control method for acrobat ants short term and long is liquid baits placed in outdoor bait dispensers. Pesticide sprays can work, but the effort and continual reapplication required to completely kill the ants is difficult. 1 application is seldom enough. Liquid baits on the other hand will supply the foraging outdoor ants with their food source and also kill them long term. It’s the equivalent of letting the ants do the work for you.
If you must spray something then be prepared to make repeated applications until the ants are dead and the nests starved off. Be sure to wear the proper protective clothing when spraying pesticides outdoors as the wind and overhead spraying can make the pesticide land directly on you. Follow the pesticide label directions and wash your clothes immediately after treatment.