Big red ant
Location: Wichita, Kansas, USA
August 9, 2011 11:31 am
I have seen a few of these big red ants in my finished basement in Kansas lately. It has been a record-setting hot summer, so we have spent a lot of time in the cooler basement. I live on the outskirts of Wichita, with a wheat field adjoining our property.
The first time I saw one of these, I squished it with my finger. Actually, I thought I killed it, but I didn’t. I picked it up after stunning it, I guess, and it bit (or stung) me. Then I tried again with something hard, and it made quite a crunch.
Today, my children caught one in a plastic baggie, so I have been trying to identify it.
My first thought after internet searching was a velvet ant, but it is not that fuzzy and the stripe on the ant does not match the pictures I have found.
It is about 1/2” long. The other one might have been slightly bigger. The main color is an orangish red or rust red. There is a definite white stripe, with black at the end of the last body segment.
Can you identify it for me?
(Sorry about the picture quality, but I didn’t want to let it out of the baggie.) The orange lines are 1/8” on a ruler.
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp, and the sting is reported to be quite painful. Not all Velvet Ants are as fuzzy as the commonly pictured Cow Killer. We will eventually try to identify the species. It resembles Dasymutilla nigripes which is pictured on BugGuide.
Thank you. I believe you are correct. That photo matches much better. And the sting did hurt a lot. My finger was sore for about 20 minutes, I would guess.