Velvety Tree Ants

Official Name

Liometopum

Size

2.5 to 6 mm

Color

The head and thorax are red-brown in color while the velvety black abdomen gives this ant its nickname.

Geographical Location

Found in North America, Europe and Asia

Common Household Location

Lawn, Garden, Kitchen, Room and Floor

Identifying Characteristics

  • Polymorphic, concolorous dark brown workers. The body is covered with a dense pubescence, a feature that partially explains the common name for ants in this genus -"velvety tree ants." It is possible to separate Liometopum luctuosum from Liometopum apiculatum by the presence of a metanotal suture that breaks up the dorsal mesosomal outline, the short and relatively sparse standing hairs on the top of the pronotum and their dark coloration. The largest workers of Liometopum apiculatum are distinctively larger than the largest sized luctuosum workers.

Official Name

Liometopum

Size

2.5 to 6 mm

Color

The head and thorax are red-brown in color while the velvety black abdomen gives this ant its nickname.

Geographical Location

Found in North America, Europe and Asia

Common Household Location

Lawn, Garden, Kitchen, Room and Floor

Identifying Characteristics

  • Polymorphic, concolorous dark brown workers. The body is covered with a dense pubescence, a feature that partially explains the common name for ants in this genus -"velvety tree ants." It is possible to separate Liometopum luctuosum from Liometopum apiculatum by the presence of a metanotal suture that breaks up the dorsal mesosomal outline, the short and relatively sparse standing hairs on the top of the pronotum and their dark coloration. The largest workers of Liometopum apiculatum are distinctively larger than the largest sized luctuosum workers.

Notes

Velvety tree ants are most common in California, although they may be found in mountain foothills in other western states, as with many related species. They nest outdoors in dead and rotting wood and are associated with tree holes and dead limbs in trees. Active trails of foraging workers easily can be found on the trunks of trees where these ants live.

Velvety tree ant colonies in trees may be difficult to control because the nest is located far above the ground. Nests within the wood or voids inside a home require drilling and treatment. These ants may accept sweet liquid or gel ant baits but success will vary. A professional should be consulted when encountering this species.