Acrobat Ants Are Very Common House Pests In Louisiana Where They Sometimes Nest Within Woodwork And Seek Human Food Sources

The groups of indoor ant pests commonly known as acrobat ants belong to the diverse Crematogaster genus, and multiple species are common in Louisiana where they serve as important components of the salt marsh ecosystem. Unfortunately a few acrobat ant species frequently establish infestations within homes throughout Louisiana where they seek out food scraps and occasionally establish nests within inaccessible locations like wall voids. Workers from acrobat ant colonies can be seen foraging indoors and they are relatively small to medium sized at around 3 mm in body length, and they can also be recognized for their shiny and reddish brown to black body. Perhaps most striking is their heart-shaped gaster (bulbous rear body segment) which they raise in response to threats, such as being approached by humans.

In the natural environment, acrobat ants nest beneath tree bark and in the hollow stems of marsh grass, but colonies can also be found in logs, stumps, and under bundles of leaf litter and stones. In Louisiana marsh lands, acrobat ant colonies establish large networks of satellite nests that surround a single parent nest that contains the founding queen, and unfortunately, these ants are known to establish multiple satellite nests within homes as well. As pests, acrobat ant workers are able to establish exceedingly small satellite nests in narrow spots, such as beneath roof shingles, and within or around doors and windows. Workers may also establish nesting cavities within wood, but in most of these cases, workers merely move into already existing cavities that had been excavated by other wood-damaging insect pests. However, workers inflict further damage to wood by enlarging interior cavities.

Acrobat ants naturally feed on insects and honeydew, and most infestations see workers enter homes from outside nests in order to collect sweet-tasting foods. When foraging workers enter homes, they usually originate from nests located very close to the foundation, such as beneath porches or beneath piles of firewood stacked against a home’s exterior walls. Although workers occasionally bite due to their defensive nature, stings are rarely reported, but when they become disturbed they emit a distinct odor that is generally considered unpleasant. If acrobat ants establish indoor nests, workers must be followed to their nesting site when they return from foraging expeditions. In cases that see workers invade homes repeatedly, an insecticide barrier is often applied around the perimeter of homes in order to prevent further infestations.

Have you ever smelled an odorous secretion emitted by an ant pest?


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