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Velvety Tree Ants

Genus: Liometopum 

Actual Size: 2.5-6mm

Characteristics: Typically multi-colored, with a red-brown thorax and “velvety” black abdomen.

Behavior: 

  • Colonies with multiple queens.
  • Velvety tree ants prefer to nest in dead trees. They may also infest structural wood, and occasionally insulation.
  • They are classified as Scavenger / Predators, eating sugary substances and other insects.
  • When crushed, velvety tree ants release a pheromone (similar to odorous ants) that can smell like coconut.
  • Velvety tree ants are often confused for odorous or carpenter ants.

 

 

Category:

Pest Description

Velvety Tree Ant Behavior

Preferring to dwell in dead or rotting wood, velvety tree ants excavate wood in a similar way to carpenter ants. Nests are made in the crooks of tree, under rocks, and inside logs or stumps. There are 3-40 active queens in a given colony, and each perform different duties within the nest. Most colony-based activities are performed at night, but worker ants are found actively making trails at almost any hour of the day.

Velvety tree ants use a system of pheromones similar to the odorous ant, leaving long pheromone trails to food resources. When they are crushed, they release an “alarm” pheromone that typically smells unpleasant, and sometimes like coconut. While these ants do not have stingers, they will bite if provoked or if the nest is disturbed.

Problems Caused by Velvety Tree Ants

Because they prefer to nest in dead or empty wooden structures, velvety ants can become a big concern indoors. They also have multiple queens, which means a nest can spread fairly quickly. They do not eat wood, but they continually excavate in an effort to expand their colony. They also bite when threatened, which can be a concern if DIY approaches are being considered.

Preventing Velvety Tree Ants

The prevention of a velvety tree ant infestation is complex. Proper food storage and controlling garbage areas can help prevent a problem from starting. Reducing clutter, eliminating standing water, and trimming plants away from the house can all help as well.
If any velvety tree ants are crushed indoors, it’s important to fully clean the area, to prevent the alarm pheromone from alerting other workers. Any discovered trails or pathways should be completely wiped down with soap and water.

Controlling and Eliminating Velvety Tree Ants

Velvety tree ants can cause significant damage as they build their nests, either indoors or outdoors. The best way to eliminate and prevent future problems with this type of ant is to call an experienced professional. At Pest Control Inc, we use a variety of different treatment techniques, including surveillance, baiting, and exclusion solutions.