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Pest Information

Velvety Tree Ants

Velvety Tree Ants

  • Latin Name: Liometopum sp.
  • Common Name: Velvety Tree Ants
  • Latin Family Name: Formicidae
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Velvety Tree Ants
Velvety Tree Ants
Velvety Tree Ants

Origin:

Native to the western United States and Mexico, and found throughout California south into Mexico and east to Colorado.

Biology:

This is a very fast moving, aggressive ant, and while it cannot sting it will readily bite and cause a stinging sensation with a spray of formic acid. Colonies may contain several thousand workers, all of the same size, and nests are usually associated with wood. This may be a rotting tree root system in the soil, hollow trunks or trees, or old tree stumps, and they can often be found foraging up and down very tall tree trunks, feeding on honeydew or on other insects. They commonly invade structures, particularly where tree limbs contact the building, and forage within.

Identification:

This is a single-node species that may be confused with some smaller species of carpenter ants. However, it does not have a small circle of hairs around the anal opening, and unlike the shiny cuticle of carpenter ants this species has a more velvety appearance, especially on the abdomen which is covered with short hairs. The color arrangement is a black head, red thorax, and black abdomen that looks satiny when viewed from above. The thorax has an evenly rounded profile, but it somewhat more elongate than the carpenter ants, and without the distinct vertical posterior end of the segment.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Control of most ants includes correction of the attractions that drew them to a property, including harborage sites, food sources, and moisture conditions. Elimination of insects that provide protein or honeydew sources reduces ant foraging in an area, very important for this species, and cleanup of unnecessary debris or objects on the soil that provide harborage eliminates nesting. Ant bait products in granular, liquid, or gel formulations can be effective, and protein baits may be preferred. Locating the nest of these ants is critical, and if it is found treatment directly into the nest with a residual dust insecticide can be effective.

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