Recently, I was sent to a home in MillstoneTownship, NJ, to help a homeowner resolve a troublesome ant infestation. The homeowner told me that he saw sawdust shavings on the floor in their sunporch room. So, I immediately knew that I was dealing with some type of wood-destroying ant that excavates tunnels in wood for their nests. Whenever there is wood damage caused by ants, the usual suspect is carpenter ants. However, these aren’t the only ants that can cause trouble. Upon closer inspection, I immediately identified these ants as acrobat ants.
Acrobat ants have this somewhat unusual name because of their “contortion act” if disturbed: They will bend their abdomen over their body. While this behavior is not enough to get them a job at a circus, it does help pest control technicians identify them. Unlike carpenter ants, these ants are relatively small, only about one-eight of an inch, and are light brown to black in color.
As with this infestation, acrobat ants deposit debris as they excavate their nests. Any wood residue nearby entry holes is a tell tale sign that you have an infestation of some wood-nesting insect, whether its carpenter ants, carpenter bees, or acrobat ants. A word of warning with acrobat ants! These particular ants are aggressive and territorial. They have a stinger, and they’re not afraid to use it. They also bite when threatened. If that weren’t enough, they also emit a foul odor when disturbed. In short, these ants are a major nuisance.
Acrobat ant infestations often infest homes and other structures that have moist or water-damaged building materials. So, these infestations are often a sign of moisture or water damage around a home’s structure. Foam sheathing behind siding and around skylights is especially popular with these ants. These ants often seek out wall voids and hollow beams in homes.
Since these infestations are usually traceable to a moisture problem, I inspected the structure of the sunporch for possible issues. I noticed that the windows needed caulking and were likely letting in water. I made small drill holes so that I could access the wall void and inject a foam that would be carried back to the colony. I also treated the home’s exterior with a residual product that would stop the ant trail that was leading inside the sunporch. I’m confident that, the queen and the rest of this acrobat ant colony will soon be eliminated and this there will not be no further ant issues for this homeowner.