Identification, Facts, & Control

Latin Name

Liometopum occidentale


Velvety Tree Ant April Nobile / ©, via Wikimedia Commons Large 1/8" - 1/4" long and light brown to brown with a red thorax

Velvety Tree Ant - Light brown to brown in color - sometimes contains a reddish thorax. Body covered with velvety hairs. Relatively large being from 1/8" to 1/4" They are very fast runners. Can be found throughout California, but more commonly found in Southern California. Has a similar odor to the odorous house ant when crushed. Will often form large colonies under bark and in cavities of trees, in stumps, and under piles of rocks. They are commonly found traveling rapidly in trails up and down tree trunks in search of aphids. They eat honeydew, and live and dead insects. Sometimes they can be found in homes but are in search of insects to eat, not human food. They have a tendency to be pugnacious; when they are disturbed they will bite and inject a poison into the wound (they do not sting).

Control of the Velvety Tree Ant:
  • These ants will come into homes looking for insects to feed on. If the trees they are using for nesting are nearby, then tree spraying can be effective. The columns in the house can be sprayed with residual or contact sprays by the homeowner.
  • Barrier treatments may be effective, but will usually lose their effectiveness quickly outdoors.
  • Inside, preventative spraying would be minimally effective.

Click on a species of ants below to learn further information.