Currently viewing the category: "Velvet Ants"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug Identification
Location: Suffolk, VA 23432
September 13, 2014 6:11 pm
Can you tell me what this insect is?it looks lake a large black and red ant.
Signature: Thank you! John Lee

Cowkiller

Cow Killer

Dear John Lee,
Though this Cow Killer,
Dasymutilla occidentalis, is in the family with members commonly called Velvet Ants, they are actually flightless female wasps that are reported to have a very painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cow Killer and the Close Call
Location: Washington-on-the-Brazos; Washington County, Texas
September 7, 2014 9:54 pm
Long story involving 1) hordes of hungry mosquitoes (who ignore or perhaps even enjoy the taste of Deep Woods Off), and 2) an epic storm front composed of towering purple cloud banks, lightning, and buckets of rain, caused our planned day at the beach in Galveston, Texas to evolve into a walking tour of historic Washington-on-the-Brazos in central Texas.
So, I’m walking in the grass near the Brazos River instead of on the crushed-granite path at the park because I’m wearing flip-flops intended for sandy-beach-walking and don’t want to get rock shards in my shoes. I look down just in time to see my bare toes dangerously close to this very fast-moving red and black velvety creature. Thanks to you and your informative website, I know that this is probably a cow killer, a velvet “ant” that’s really a female wasp with an agonizing sting!! I did a quick “jump back, Jack”, in time to save myself from a terrible sting.
Yeah. I opted to walk on the crushed rock pathways after that, keeping my eyes peeled for stinging insects.
Interesting day.
Thank you for the informative web site. You may have saved me from an agonizing sting, because I guarantee that I wouldn’t have known what this insect was without you.
Most of the photos that I took (from the relative safety of the pathway) are blurry because the insect was so fast in moving over, under, and around the leaves and grass.
Signature: Ellen

Cowkiller

Cowkiller

Dear Ellen,
Since you didn’t have a question, our response is short.  Thanks for sending us the account of your encounter with this Cowkiller.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red and black bug
Location: Southside Virginia
July 26, 2014 1:39 pm
What kind of a bug looks like a giant ant that is red and black and fuzzy. Lives in Southside Virginia?
Signature: Gayle

Cowkiller

Cowkiller

Dear Gayle,
This Cowkiller is a Velvet Ant, a type of flightless female wasp reported to have an extremely painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Velvet ant In Central Spain
Location: Ocaña, Toledo
July 10, 2014 3:15 am
Hi, I found a female velvet ant yesterday just south of Madrid. Later on I saw what looked like a winged male. I am unfamiliar with Mutillidae of Spain and have failed to find any information on the species these may be.
I have sent a photo of each, but the camera I used was somewhat poor. Another photo I found online, that seems to be of an identical animal is here: http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7049/6863722301_1a4c21453a.jpg
I appreciate that it is pretty much impossible to get a definitive species level ID without the actual animal, but any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Signature: Bec

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Bec,
Thanks for sending your Velvet Ant image.  We found a very similar looking Velvet Ant on FlickR that is identified as
Sigilla dorsata and then we found an image on Invertebrados Insectarium Virtual to support that identification.  Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps reported to have a very painful sting, and nonstinging male Velvet Ants have wings.  Your winged insect is in the order Hymenoptera, which included Ants, Bees and Wasps, but we cannot confirm that it is a male Velvet Ant.

Unknown Hymenopteran

Unknown Hymenopteran

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ant
Location: north central Texas
July 1, 2014 7:55 am
Can you identify this ant? It has a stinger that looks smaller than a human hair and extends about half its body length. the sting is extremely painful, i have been stung twice. the body is very hard almost like concrete. whats a good and safe way to get rid of these?
Signature: Thank You Tammy Daniel

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Hi Tammy,
Though it resembles an ant and it is called a Velvet Ant, this insect is actually a flightless female wasp in the family Mutillidae and you are correct that the sting is reported to be quite painful.  We cannot say for certain which species this is, but it resembles the members of the genus
Timulla pictured on BugGuide.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Kern River fuzzy bug
Location: Kernville, CA (campsite near kern river)
May 31, 2014 6:30 pm
We saw this little guy in the sand at our campsite at the Kern River today (June 1st, 2014).
We only counted 6 legs at the time.
Signature: Kristen

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Hi Kristen,
This is a Velvet Ant in the genus
Dasymutilla, and we believe it might be Dasymutilla sackenii based on the images posted to BugGuide.  Velvet Ants should be handled with extreme caution since they are actually flightless female wasps reputed to have a very painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination