Velvety tree ants have a brownish-black head, yellowish-red thorax and a velvety black abdomen. They have a single node (bump between middle and rear body sections). Velvety tree ant workers come in many sizes. They have an evenly rounded thorax and appear similar to the carpenter ant.
Velvety tree ants nest in dead wood in trees, stumps and logs. They build temporary nests indoors for foraging. When indoors, their nest will be in wall voids and insulation and areas with high moisture such as water leaks. If outdoors they can be found under loose bark and rocks.