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Acrobat ants get their common name from their ability to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head, especially when disturbed. There are various species of this light brown to black ants found throughout the United States, even at altitudes of up to 8,000 feet.
- Color: Light brown to black, sometimes multicolored
- Legs: 6
- Shape: Long, segmented; heart-shaped abdomen
- Size: 1/16 – 1/8”
- Antennae: Elbowed with 12-segmented antenna with a 3-segmented club
- Region: All
- Habits: Acrobat ants typically feed on honeydew, a sugary waste excreted by aphids and mealybugs, but they also eat live and dead insects including termite swarmers.
- Habitat: Acrobat ants often nest outdoors under rocks, logs, firewood and trees where decaying wood allows them to create tunnels. They are opportunistic, building their nests in abandoned cavities carved out by other insects like termites and carpenter ants. Within structures, nests may be found in floor and wall voids or other areas associated with carpenter ants. These ants travel in trails, foraging up to 100 feet from their nest. Wooden fences, tree limbs and utility lines provide access into structures through cracks or holes around window frames, soffits and door thresholds.
- Threats: Acrobat ants will aggressively defend their nest and are quick to bite and release a foul odor when threatened.
These ants can cause damage to properties and have been known to strip the insulation from electrical or telephone wires.