Velvety Tree Ant

Prevention of Velvety Tree Ant Invasions

This video starts with scenes of velvety tree ants – (then covers other insects off topic). It´s fairly easy to prevent these ants from becoming a problem. Keep trees trimmed away from your house so that the ant doesn´t have any bridge to your house.  Keep your house well maintained, with proper repair when you see wall cracks or fractures to window and frames.

Problems Created by Velvety Tree Ants

The velvety tree ant has a painful bite, delivered by powerful jaws. Velvety tree ants will attack in a swarm.  You won´t get just one bite. These ants also damage plants in the garden, though they do not do so directly. Instead they tend aphids, mealybugs, scale and caterpillars, farming them for the sweet dew they produce.  This harms many plants and can lead to an uncontrolled population explosion of secondary landscape pests as the ants protecting them from predators. Velvety Tree Ants Protecting Aphids

Controlling Velvety Tree Ants with professional products and techniques

Velvety tree ants can be suppressed with a treatment plan including a liquid pesticide drench of the mound. Spraying these ants may not by itself kill enough ants to collapse the colony. Baits have been used to limited affect in controlling these ants.  Non-repellents have become a powerful tool in the control of ants as they pass over a toxin designed with a “delayed kill,” long enough for the ants to contact infest other ants in the colony.

Biology of the Velvety Tree Ant

The velvety tree ant ranges from 2.5 to 6mm (1/10th – ¼ inch) in size. The ant has a colorful body.  The head is brown, the thorax(middle) bright red, and the rear abdomen – a velvety black. This ant forms a colony around a single queen. As its´ name implies, the ant usually nests in trees, but will also nest under stones along riverbanks and in wall spaces usually next to plumbing fixtures. If crushed, these ants have a musky oily sent that is quite distinctive.

Velvety Tree Ants

Velvety Tree Ant Food Sources

Velvety tree ants are primarily attracted to sugar, but will also eat other insects for their protein. They get their sugar from multiple sources. Farming aphids the ants tickle them into giving up sweet honeydew to eat. They also will feed from humming bird feeders. They enjoy sweets such as soda, candy, cookies and cake. Click here for a picture of a Velvety Tree Ant tending caterpillars

Habitat and Range of Velvety Tree Ants

Velvety Tree Ants are common to California, Nevada,Colorado and Mexico. They live primarily in forests where they are commonly seen streaming up and down tree limbs going from food source to nest. The most common place for a velvet tree ant nest is under tree bark where the tree is moist. They can also be found near streams and other bodies of water that moisten the ground, where they will then nest around plants and under stones. For more information on ants and ant species, visit our page on Ant Control Call today to schedule service or for more information at 800-986-1006
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Velvety Tree Ant References

University of California Davis Integrated Pest Management Home Gardener files University of California Davis Pest Notes on Velvety Tree Ants University of California Riverside Liometopum Occidentale
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