Named for these ants carry their abdomen above the rest of their body as if attempting an acrobatic act, this feature is also one of the easiest ways to identify this species. Considered to be a small to medium sized ant, acrobat ants are slightly longer than 1/8th of an inch in length. Coloration varies from a yellowish brown to dark brown with their heart-shaped abdomen being darker than the remainder of their body. These ants are capable of nesting both indoors and outdoors. Exterior nests are often located in dead or decaying wood such as firewood, logs, tree stumps and hollow tree cavities, although they may also nest in damp soil under leaf litter or rocks. Acrobat ants are capable of entering structures through cracks around windows, doors and the perimeter of the foundation. Indoor nests are commonly found in wood or cavities moistened by water leaks. As with carpenter ants, excavated material from nesting often results in sawdust like material being deposited near the nesting area. In addition, nests have been discovered in foam insulating boards. Worker ants are frequently seen moving in trails between the nest and a food source. Acrobat ants seek out a variety of food sources including other insects and sweets.
As with many other species of ants, acrobat ants produce winged reproductive ants known as swarmers. Most common in the fall, swarmers disperse from the colony in order to start new colonies. Due to the number of swarmers that exit the colony, this may be the first known indication of an infestation inside of a structure. Since swarmers are exiting the colony and not returning, treatment for swarmers is typically not necessary and may be controlled by simply sweeping or vacuuming them up and disposing of them in a tightly sealed trash bag. Exclusion methods including sealing exterior cracks and utilizing an exterior residual insecticide barrier applied by a pest control professional is often the best way to prevent acrobat ant activity from exterior nesting sites from coming into the structure unless a nest can be specifically located. For interior nests, moisture related issues should be eliminated if present followed by an insecticide application by a pest control professional. Wall void spaces may also necessitate treatment depending on the location of the nest.