The only acrobatic thing about the acrobat ant is how it curls its heart-shaped abdomen over its back when threatened, like a scorpion. Acrobat ants are small in size, shiny dark brown to black in color, and reside only in moist areas, especially where there is rotting wood. Acrobat ants have a sweet tooth, especially for honeydew excreted by aphids. These ants are like helicopter parents to aphids; they will go to great lengths to protect them, even build a wall of dirt around them.
If disturbed, acrobat ants will swing their abdomen up, emit a feces-like odor, and bite nearby offenders. The bite comes with a small injection of venom which will cause skin to burn and itch. Be sure to wash the bite to prevent infection and avoid scratching. Basic over-the-counter medications, such as calamine lotion and antihistamine, will help alleviate the pain and stop the itching.
Swing into action by calling a professional. Professionals may use one or more of the following methods to get this circus out of town.
Outside insecticide: This treatment is best employed for outside nests and consists of spraying the whole perimeter with liquid insecticide.
Inject the nest: For nests in structural wood, professionals find an access point (such as through an electrical outlet) and inject the nest with liquid, dust, or aerosol insecticide.
Spray: This treatment uses high-pressure aerosol insecticide to spray tight spaces, such as between walls and under siding.
Aphid abatement: Contact an arborist to get rid of these little green bugs which not only attract acrobat ants in droves but also devour your roses!
Acrobat Ant DIY
The presence of acrobat ants is a sure sign of moist, rotting wood. The best way to get rid of and prevent nests in your home is to stop the leak or source of moisture and replace infected areas with new wood. Ant baits are not effective for acrobat ant annihilation. Instead, follow the ants to find their trail entrance and then apply one of the following methods.
Homeland Security (indoors):
Dust insecticide: For nests located indoors or inside wood, apply a thin layer of dust insecticide with a hand duster. If needed, drill a hole to get to the nest.
Behind Enemy Lines (outdoors):
Liquid insecticide: Rake back mulch or un-stack materials to reveal the nest. Douse the area with a liquid insecticide, such as Cypermethrin products. (Do not ever use wood that has been soaked with insecticide for firewood.)
Acrobat Ant Green Solutions
If you’re interested in an environmentally-friendly way to rid yourself of acrobat ants, consider the following green solutions.
Caulk and block areas of entry.
Trim back trees and shrubbery away from the house to destroy any natural bridges.
Do some home improvement. Replace leaky pipes and moist materials. Remove wet wood and insulation. Basically, just cut and dry.
Your mom was right; you need to clean your room! If you have a problem with ants, you need to do some thorough cleaning. Sweep areas free of food crumbs, wash the floors, vacuum, clean recyclable containers before using, etc. You may even want to apply a vinegar-water solution on hardwood floors to destroy ant trails.