Velvety Tree Ant - School IPM - USU Extension

    Velvety Tree Ant

    Liometopum spp.

    Velvety tree ant

    Velvety tree ant (April Nobile, Antweb.org)

    Velvety tree ant

    Velvety tree ants (David Stephens, Bugwood.org)

    American Cockroach

    Close-up of a velvety tree ant (April Nobile, Antweb.org)

    Identification

    • brownish black head; yellowish red thorax; velvety black abdomen
    • single node
    • abdomen covered in very fine hairs
    • workers of many sizes
    • appear similar to carpenter ant
    • evenly rounded thorax

    Nesting Habits

    • usually associated with hollows of trees, stumps and logs 
    • build temporary nests indoors for foraging
    • nest in wall voids and areas with high moisture such as water leaks
    • under loose bark and rocks 
    • in/under insulation

    Diet

    • other insects
    • honeydew produced by aphids, mealybugs or scales
    • scavenge on dead animals
    • partial to sweets

    Significance

    • aggressive; inflict a painful bite and spray secretions onto intruders when disturbed
    • damage insulation and wood by tunneling 
    • workers/foragers may enter structures
    • structural infestations result in a foul-smelling odor

    IPM Recommendations

    • Trim back tree branches and shrubs that come into contact with the building.
    • Seal all exterior cracks and holes to prevent workers from entering. 
    • Repair water leaks and maintain proper ventilation of the surrounding area.
    • Replace severely damaged wood.
    • Ant baits may be necessary. 

    Additional Resources:

    IPM for Ants: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)