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How To Control Velvety Tree Antsvelvety tree ant

Have you ever enjoyed a warm summer day in the park and decided to lay a blanket out to have a picnic with family beside the shade of a tree only for it to be ruined by trespassing ants? Those uninvited guests may very well be velvety tree ants which are notorious for being territorial and aggressive. Velvety tree ants, as their name suggests, like to reside in or on trees but they can get comfortable around your home if the conditions are right for them and they can become an irritating pest.

Velvety tree ants are red on their top half and a shiny black in color in their abdomen which is where they get “velvety” part of their name from. Velvety tree ants share a similar characteristic with the Odorous House ant in that, when crushed, they emit an unpleasant odor. They are also on the larger side compared to other ants reaching almost an inch long.

Velvety tree ants like to nest in areas where there is moist wood and in the crooks of trees, and often they are able to gain access to a house while on a tree via a branch that is touching the house. Like most ants, velvety tree ants have a great appetite from anything sweet or protein based. They mostly eat insects like aphids and honeydew but when food is scarce they will wonder into human dwellings when foraging.

Velvety tree ants are biters and can attack you while you’re doing yard work. On top of biting, they also inject a poison which can be quite painful and is comparable to a scorpion sting. If you have velvety tree ants on your property, it would be best to get started on a control program to get rid of them.  Find all common ant solutions here.

Browse our recommended products for treating velvety tree ants below. If you want to get rid of velvety tree ants, we also have some solid steps you can follow below. You can call, email or live chat with us online any time you wish if you have any questions or concern or would like free advice or recommendations.


How To Get Rid of Velvety Tree Ants: 4 Step Solution

Treating velvety tree ants is not the easiest task, especially if the colony is nesting inside of trees. Their nests are usually located far above the ground. Velvety tree ants which have set up nest indoors may be more treatable since they are usually found in wall voids and moist areas. Solutions Pest and Lawn has the tools necessary to get rid of velvety tree ants and we will share with you the steps we recommend if you want to tackle this problem the DIY way.

Step 1: An effective way to treat velvety tree ants starts with a good inspection. We suggest starting your examination from the outside and work your way indoors. If you spot an ant, don’t kill it, but rather, observe the ant and see what trail it goes on. If you are persistent, the ants may lead you to the colony or nest. Nests set up outdoors may likely be set up in or around a nearby tree.

Step 2: If you happen to find the colony or nest, treat the ant colony via drench method, using an insecticide like Reclaim IT or Sylo Insecticide. If the nest is indeed inside a tree, spray the trunk and branches thoroughly.

Step 3: Indoors we recommend focusing in on the interior walls of your home as well as cracks and crevices by applying Fipro Foaming Aerosol. We recommend combining your this indoor treatment with D-fense Dust. The unique thing about dust is that it repels moisture which is good to use in high water areas.

Step 4: Preventative measures must be taken to ensure rover ants don’t return. This includes implementing measures such as: reducing moisture by fixing leaks, thoroughly cleaning your home (particularly the kitchen) to clear up crumbs and grease, sealing up cracks and crevices with caulk, clearing off debris and firewood from your home and trimming trees that touch your home.


Learn More About The Velvety Tree Ant

The velvety tree ants (Liometopum occidentale) is an ant species found in the Dolichoderinae subfamily. The velvety tree ant is quite a unique looking ant since it is larger than most common ants that people encounter and because of their shiny almost velvet-like abdomen for which they were named after.

Velvety tree ants can be confused with carpenter ants by homeowners and pest control operators. This is largely due to their larger size and behavioral tendencies being similar to carpenter ants. For instance, velvety tree ants, much like carpenter ants can be found around wooded areas where they dig around and forage and they often like to make their habitats in or near trees (that’s where the “tree” part of their name comes from)


Velvet Tree Ant Identificationants in leaf litter

If you’ve ever had a picnic at the park ruined by the arrival of ants, there’s a good chance that the party was crashed by velvety tree ants. Velvety tree ants are commonly seen marching up and down trees and can very well come upon your picnic. This is why they’ve also been nicknamed as “picnic ants” for their frequency of ruining picnic outings.


Another name that is commonly given to velvety tree ants is cow ant and it’s not because they look like cows. Velvety tree ants are known for their very painful bite and in fact, the sting is so painful that the velvety tree ant can actually bring down a cow if they are large enough in number. Scary to think about, I know.


Velvety tree ants are red and black in color and very aggressive. Velvety tree ants vary in size but may grow to a 1/4 inch—larger than most of the usual ants you’d see in your house, but still smaller than a carpenter ant. They like sweet foods and when they are crushed they can emit a very stinky unpleasant odor.


Inspecting for Velvety Tree Ants

Velvety tree ants usually prefer to nest outdoors near trees and around leaf litter but on occasion they can venture on inside a house when foraging for food. The velvety tree ant is a persistent scavenger and will travel as far as 200 feet from their nest in search of their next meal.


If the conditions are right, velvety tree ants may even nest indoors. These nest are often found in areas where there is moist, dampened or rotting wood as well as wall voids Velvety tree ants have also shown a peculiar tendency to nest in styrofoam insulation.


Although velvety tree ants may feed on food they find indoors, their food is primarily obtained outdoors; they eat mainly live and dead insects along with honeydew (i.e., sugary excretions) produced by other insects such as aphids.


When conducting an inspection, you will have to look both outdoors and indoors to scan for their presence. Outdoors, look for velvety tree ants around trees as well as wood piles and areas where there is dampness. Indoors, check your home for moisture issues. If you do happen to see a velvety tree ant foraging, leave them be and just observe them. Follow them along on the trail they are on and they may very well lead you right to where the nest is. This will take a lot of patience on your part however as it can take a while for the ant to get anywhere.


velvet tree ant controlVelvety Tree Ant Control Options

Velvety tree ants are an aggressive ant so carrying out DIY control should be something that you proceed with caution because these pests will be ready to sting you if you get too close.


If velvety tree ants are found outside in your garden or lawn, one method of control you can use is an insecticide barrier treatment. Spraying an insecticide such as Reclaim IT Insecticide around the perimeter of your yard and around your home can do wonders to keep velvety tree ants from trespassing on your property.

Since velvety tree ants like to have above ground nests, if velvety tree ants are found outside, you may be able to see an apparent ant mound which you can treat with the appropriate insecticide. We recommend using a product like Sylo Insecticide and using the product to thoroughly drench the mound that you see either by spraying with a hand sprayer or mixing the insecticide with water in a bucket and then pouring it directly on top of the velvety tree ant mound.

As great of a control method asdrenching the nest is for killing velvety tree ants, it won’t kill the entire population, only the ones in the nest. There may be hundreds that are out and about foraging that will also need to be addressed.

If you’re finding velvety tree ants inside your home, another treatment method is ant baits. As we mentioned earlier, velvety tree ants have an affinity for sweet and sugary foods and so you will need a sugary bait like Ant-Trax Ant Gel Bait. Take this lethal, sugar-based bait and lay them out in little tiny beads in areas where you have spotted velvety tree ant activity. Give the bait some time and if you see large numbers of ants flocking to the bait, leave them be and let the  velvety tree ants carry the bait back to their nests to enjoy and share their final meal with the rest of the colony.

If the velvety tree ant nest is found indoors, for instance inside a wall void, you may need to drill holes in your wall and apply a pesticide dust to the nest such as D-Fense Dust. This will work best by using a handheld duster rather than just the applicator tip of the insecticide dust bottle.


Velvety Tree Ant Prevention

After eliminating the velvety tree ant problem, you will need to keep the invasion from returning by implementing the following preventative measures:


  • - Address moisture issues. Locate and fix areas of the home that are accumulating moisture by fixing plumbing leaks  Use a dehumidifier to eliminate damp areas of the home.

  • - Seal off as many points of entry around your home as possible. Use caulk or black foam to eliminate holes, cracks and crevices which can serve as entryways for velvety red ants (or other insects)

  • - Trim tree branches. Trim back trees and shrubbery away from your home as they ur home. Also, cut off rotting or dead parts of trees.

  • - Sweep up and discard leaf litter around your home. Move mulch, wood piles, stones, and bricks away so they aren’t touching the house as those materials often house velvety tree ant colonies. Clean out the gutters as well.


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