Swarmers in September? No South Jersey, it’s NOT a Termite, it May be an Acrobat Ant

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Termites swarm in early spring. Acrobat Ants swarm in the fall.

Winged forms or reproductives (known as swarmers) usually appear in the fall of the year. Swarmers are harmless, but they may be the first indication of an Acrobat Ant infestation if they are found in the home.

Acrobat ants and frass

They may enter the home by crawling along electrical or phone lines.

Indoors they nest in wall voids, rotted wood in windows and door frames, foam insulating board or sheathing and if you think a tiny ant can’t do any damage to your home, think again.

(Note the pencil point in the picture placed to show the scale and the wood shavings)

Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster Species) are Yellowish Brown to Black in color, about 1/8” long with a Heart-shaped abdomen and a sting. Found throughout the US, they were named Acrobat Ants because the worker ants carry their abdomens above the rest of the body as if they were performing a balancing act when they are disturbed. They may look funny to you, but Acrobat Ants can also sting and bite when they feel threatened.

Acrobat Ants eat a wide variety of foods including sweets, meats and other insects – living or dead. The workers are known to bite aggressively and give off a repulsive odor when alarmed.

Outdoors, Acrobat Ants nest in dead and decaying wood – logs, tree stumps, dead tree limbs, firewood and hollow tree cavities; beneath leaf litter or rocks; in damaged wood in porches or eaves; and can be found in shrubs or ornamentals.

What you can do to keep this circus act from invading your home:

  • Seal any cracks or crevices around the home and utility lines.
  • Repair any damaged wood in windows, door frames, porches, and eaves.
  • Store woodpiles away from the house or garage.
  • Trim shrubs/trees away from the home.
  • Eliminate any moisture problems.