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Ant species belonging to the Crematogaster genus are commonly known as “acrobat ants,” and they can be found in every inhabited region of the world where some species are considered indoor pests. Several acrobat ant species are frequent indoor pests in the US, especially Crematogaster cerasi, which can be found in most inhabited areas of North America. Acrobat ants are notable for their relatively small size, aggressive behavior, appetite for a variety of foods, and their seemingly miraculous ability to withstand being crushed. Crematogaster lineolata is another common acrobat ant species that is abundant in Massachusetts where they often nest within structural wood.

Crematogaster lineolata is more commonly known as the “lined,” or “small-lined acrobat ant,” and the brown to black workers that invade kitchens in search of food sources can be recognized for their slow, but aggressive movements and their relatively small body size, which is around ⅛ of an inch in length. Acrobat ants often establish nests within inaccessible indoor areas, most notably within wall voids, and in some cases, workers nest within moist structural wood. However, acrobat ants are not as damaging to finished wood as carpenter ants, and while acrobat ant workers are known for tunneling through woodwork, they generally prefer to nest within inner-wood cavities that have already been excavated by other pests. These ants are often found infesting wooden window sills and door frames due to the higher moisture content in these wood sources, and indoor nests may indicate moisture problems due to rainwater or plumbing leaks.

Acrobat ant nests are also found in foam insulation, and they may invade homes from outdoor nests. These ants often infest and contaminate stored foods in pantries due to their strong appetite for sweets, meats and any sugar and/or protein rich food source. Workers are unusually aggressive toward humans, and they often inflict unprovoked bites within homes. Baits will not effectively control acrobat ant pests; instead, pest control professionals inject insecticide dust into wall voids in order to destroy hidden colonies, and outdoor nests are treated on contact with liquid insecticide spray. In some cases, residential trees are treated and insecticide perimeter barriers are applied around houses to prevent acrobat invasions.

Have you ever sustained ant bites within your home?