Velvety tree ant California velvety tree ant Liometopum microcephalum var occidentale Workers are 2555 mm

long and polymorphic. The two-color pattern is characteristic for this ant: the head and gaster are black and somewhat shiny, while the thorax is reddish brown. The abdomen is covered with fine pubescence that produces the velvety appearance. Nests in natural habitats are in hollow trees, tree stumps, and in the ground under stones; large nests are sometimes lined with a paperlike material. Indoors, nests are in cavities that have been excavated by workers. Sometimes they will tunnel into wood and produce a fibrous frass similar to carpenter ants (Camponotus). Nests may have cavities used as temporary resting sites for foraging workers. Colonies are largeand probably have several functional queens. Natural food includes honeydew from aphids and scale insects, and also live and dead insects, and animals. Indoors they feed on a variety of household foods. Foraging trails may be 2-3 cm wide. These ants will bite, and may injectafluid into the wound, which causes a severe stinging sensation. It is native to North America and occurs primarily in western and southwestern states from Colorado through Arizona, California, and the Pacific northwest.

Other Liometopum The silky carpenter ant, L. luctuosum, is a household pest in western states. Workers are 3-5 mm long and uniformly dark brown to blackish brown.

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