Acrobat Ant


Actual Size: 2.5 to 4 mm

Characteristics: Light brown to black; heart-shaped abdomen when viewed from above.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Swarmers or reproductives have wings

Habitat: Prefers rotting and decaying wood and will inhabit old carpenter ant or termite galleries. In homes and structures, will nest in wall voids around doors, window frames, and insulation.


  • Rose bushes, fruit trees and any shrub that attracts aphids may contribute to an infestation.
  • Due to their ability to strip the insulation off of wires, they can cause short circuits, creating a fire hazard.
  • When excited or disturbed, acrobat ant workers will run around with their abdomens held high above their heads.

Acrobat Ants in Knoxville TN

Acrobat ants get their name from the workers’ habit of raising their abdomen above their heads, looking like tiny gymnasts. Common in the Knoxville area, these ant pests typically build nests in damp, decaying, or rotting wood. Acrobat ants practice mutualism, which means they tend aphids and feed on the honeydew that the aphids produce. They become an issue for homeowners when they nest in trees and decayed wood around the home, in places like porches and eaves.

Acrobat Ant Habitat

Acrobat ants do not nest in sound wood but are found in damp or rotting wood. When nesting outdoors acrobat ants prefer to live in trees. Inside homes and businesses, acrobat ants are known to move into abandoned carpenter ant and termite galleries in wood, house voids, and insulation and walls.  Nests in homes are often found around windows and drain spouts. Entering homes through small cracks, electrical lines, and tree limbs, acrobat ants can become a real nuisance. When searching for food, these ant pests prefer pantries and kitchen cabinets. If acrobat ant nests are discovered, whether indoors or outdoors, it’s an indication of decaying wood.

Acrobat Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Acrobat ants may bite when threatened. In some species, workers may emit an unpleasant odor when disturbed. Mild reactions are normal and may last from a few hours to a few days. The real threat posed by acrobat ants is their ability to create safety and fire hazards. They are attracted to electrical equipment and construct nests in woodwork and insulation, stripping the insulation off of wires. This behavior can cause short circuits, creating a fire hazard. If an acrobat ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.