Acrobat Ant Identification in Florida
What are Acrobat Ants?
Acrobat ants are a species of small ants commonly found throughout Florida. These ants get their name from their unique defensive behavior. When threatened, acrobat ants raise their abdomens over their head like a gymnast performing a crazy trick.
Acrobat ants are arboreal ants, meaning they prefer to nest in trees and rotten wood. However, they aren't wood-destroying organisms. Acrobat ants in Florida nest in existing nests typically abandoned by insects like moth larvae and bark beetles.
Acrobat ants are predatory, meaning they hunt both large and small prey - they even hunt wasps! Since wasps can be hard to locate, acrobat ants have developed a sensitivity to wasps' chemical signals that other bugs don't have. They use these cues to help locate their prey.
The heart-shaped abdomen you see on an acrobat ant isn't just for show - it's also a stinger. Just like fire ants, acrobat ants will sting their prey as well as anyone who bothers them.
What Do Acrobat Ants Look Like?
Acrobat ants are a smaller species of ant, typically measuring about 2.6 to 3.2mm in length. They have slender bodies and are usually light brown to dark brown in color. The acrobat ant's tell-tale feature is its heart-shaped abdomen, which it'll raise over its head when disturbed.
Where Can I Find Acrobat Ants in My Home?
Acrobat ants prefer to nest outdoors, often in dead trees, stumps, or rotting logs. However, they sometimes wander into homes in search of food and water. When nesting in homes, acrobat ants choose spots near damp or rotting wood, often around windows and drain spouts.
Acrobat ants are attracted to sugary substances, grease, and other food sources. You may find them in your kitchen, pantry, or other areas where food or crumbs are present. They're also attracted to the honeydew produced by insects such as aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies, so keep an eye out for those pests on any of your plants.
Like many ant species, acrobat ants lay a scent trail to guide workers to new food sources. If you find a trail of acrobat ants in your home, you can try following it to locate the nest. Keep in mind, though, that ants don't always walk straight to their nest, so this may not always work.
Acrobat Ants vs. Carpenter Ants
Acrobat ants and carpenter ants are often confused since they both nest in dead wood, so it's important to know the difference between them. Carpenter ants are noticeably larger than acrobat ants, with workers ranging from 5.5 to 11mm. Acrobat ant workers don't usually grow larger than four millimeters.
You can also distinguish between the two species based on their behavior. Unlike acrobat ants, carpenter ants don't raise their abdomen when disturbed. And since acrobat ants only nest in existing abandoned nests, they don't cause damage to wood like carpenter ants do.
How to Get Rid of Acrobat Ants
If you discover an acrobat ant colony in your home, you may rush for a nearby bottle of repellent spray. However, the best way to get rid of acrobat ants in Florida is to use a non-repellent ant bait such as Advion Ant Gel, Maxforce Quantum, or Optigard Ant Gel. Ants will take the bait back to their nest and spread it throughout the colony, removing the problem at its source.
We recommend avoiding repellent sprays and other forms of repellent. These methods kill on contact, but ants are smart enough to know they are being harmed and the colony will scatter. This triggers a process called budding, where ants will divide into new colonies and multiply even faster.
With non-repellent baits, the ants don't know the bait is harmful and only start dying after they've taken it to the queen. This makes baiting one of the most effective ways to eliminate an acrobat ant colony. Removing any damp or rotten wood in your home will also deter acrobat ants from nesting indoors.
We also recommend keeping an eye on humidity levels in your home as well as any areas with standing water. This can cause damage to any wood or drywall in your home, which is never fun to deal with, and can attract acrobat ants to nest indoors. It's also a good idea to get rid of any insects that produce the honeydew that acrobat ants are attracted to.
Ant Control for Acrobat Ants in Florida
If you have acrobat ants in your home that won't go away, it may be time to consider contacting your local ant exterminator. Native Pest Management's acrobat ant control experts are well-versed in getting rid of colonies in Florida homes.
Native Pest Management has over 3,000 five-star Google reviews and we use eco-friendly and pet friendly ant control products. Our focus is on providing top rated service to eliminate your acrobat ant infestation for good. Request a free quote today!
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