Currently viewing the category: "Velvet Ants"
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Subject: Red looking ant, no fuzz
Location: Ct
August 21, 2015 12:58 pm
Found a few of these near my sons sandbox and wondering if they sting.
Signature: Allison

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Allison,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp and they do sting, and the sting is reported to be painful, but not dangerous.  There are many similar looking species and this looks like it might be  
Dasymutilla gibbosa based on this BugGuide image.

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Subject: Black and Red Ant-like bug
Location: Eastern Shore Va., Assawoman
August 21, 2015 7:59 am
Eastern Shore of Va….this bug was in my yard….followed it across the small backyard where it disappeared into a grassy clump…no flying, it just crawled…I’m curious about it as the colors seem to shout “don’t touch me”….and I have pets in that area….any help would be appreciated…
Signature: Kathy M.

Cow Killer

Cow Killer

Dear Kathy,
The aposomatic or warning coloration on this Cow Killer, a species of Velvet Ant is doing its job.  The Cow Killer is reported to have a very painful sting, prompting us to include it in our Big 5 tag of insects that can cause pain or harm.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps.

Mary Sheridan Page Fatzinger, Sue Dougherty liked this post
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Subject: Velvet Ant
Location: Tidbury Park in Kent County, DE
August 14, 2015 6:13 pm
I have only Seen four of five of these in my life and until I looked them up on your site, I did not know there was more than one kind. This one pictured here was walking around a sandy area with pine trees near a fresh water pond. It walked at a very brisk pace and it was hard to capture an in focus picture. My question is How many kinds of velvet ants are in the U.S. and what are their names? Please feel free to use my picture on your site if you like. The picture was taken on Aug 14th, 2015.
Signature: John Naylor III

Cowkiller

Cowkiller

Dear John,
Your Velvet Ant is actually a flightless female wasp, and she is a member of the species
Dasymutilla occidentalis, a species commonly called a Cow Killer as the sting is reported to be so painful it sometimes causes cows to run, fall and break bones, or possibly run in front of vehicles.  Of the genus,  BugGuide notes there are “140 spp. in our area,” but if the name Velvet Ant is expanded to the family Mutillidae level, BugGuide notes: “480 spp. in our area; about 8,000 spp. in 230 genera/subgenera worldwide.”  We do not have the time tonight to research all their names for you, but you can explore our Velvet Ants category where 108 postings over the years have resulted in many diverse species and some beautiful images.  You are far too humble.  Your image is one of the best Velvet Ant images we have archived on our site.  BugGuide is a far more official and scientific insect identification site, and you will see many more professionally identified and named species on their three genus pages. 

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bug under matress
Location: charleston, south Carolina
May 9, 2015 2:57 pm
Hi there, so I was lifting up my mattress the other day to put sheets on the bed and found this little guy… my main concern of course is bed bugs but it looks to be bigger than most of those and I don’t have any bites. Just trying to figure out what this thing is and if I need to take any actions before it’s a problem. He was about an 1/4 inch long
Signature: thank you

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

This is most certainly NOT a Bed Bug.  Though there is not much detail in your image, we are relatively confident this is a Velvet Ant.  Velvet Ants will not infest your home and we believe this is an accidental introduction.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps that are reported to deliver a very painful sting, so while it will not infest your home, you should handle it with caution.

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Subject: Big red looking ant.
Location: Kingsport, Tennessee, USA
April 10, 2015 2:04 pm
I fould a red/scarlet ant looking insect on my porch. It has black and white stripes on the bottom of it. It’s about the size of a fingernail. It’s spring time. I have never seen anything like this insect before. I don’t know if it’s an ant or not. I would really appreciate it if you could answer my question. What is it? Thank you.
Signature: Ashley

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Ashley,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp that is reported to have an extremely painful sting.  Based on this BugGuide image, it might be
Dasymutilla scaevola.

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Subject: Black Velvet Ant and ?
Location: Oldbury Western Australia
January 31, 2015 5:49 am
Hi again,
I could write to you just about every day asking about one bug or another, but I don’t like to BUG you too much! LOL… sorry… anyhow…
I’m pretty certain second pic of a wingless wasp is a Black Velvet Ant (seems like a dumb name when it’s not an ant), although I don’t know the exact species name.
I was mainly wondering, given the colour resemblance, if the first winged wasp is the male of the same species? They were both photographed on my property just south of Perth in Australia a day apart. If I am guessing wrong please correct me. Thanks. With appreciation,
Signature: Jill Wozhere

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Jill,
We believe your identification of a female, flightless Velvet Ant is correct, and your individual resembles the example from the genus
 Bothriomutilla that is posted on the Brisbane Insect website.  We do not believe the winged wasp is a male of the species, but we cannot provide an identification at this time.  Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps, and Ants and Wasps are actually members of the same order and the common name Velvet Ant refers to the resemblance and flightlessness of the female.

Wasp

Wasp

Thank you Daniel for your reply and the interesting information. Personally I still think they shouldn’t call it an ant if it isn’t actually an ant, but I won’t make a federal case out of it.  If you find out the species of the other wasp, please let me know.
Best regards,
Jill

Hi Daniel,
Further to the unidentified wasp in one of the previous pic I sent… I’m guessing now that it is a female spider wasp from the family Pompilidae.
I figure it’s a female, because I also found I had a pic *yes I took it and yes you’re welcome to have it, of mating wasps and with it being at the bottom, it just stands to reason it’s the female. (male has red abdomen and female has larger eye) Pic attached.
What do you think?

Mating Wasps may be Spider Wasps

Mating Wasps may be Spider Wasps

Hi again Jill,
We agree that the mating wasps look like the same species as the single wasp image you submitted, and we also agree that they might be Spider Wasps.  We do have a favor to request regarding future submissions.  Please limit your submissions to one species per submission form and please use a new submission form for each submission.  I really complicates our ability to post and archive submissions when multiple species occur in one email, and adding additional images to an existing email chain further complicates the posting process.
  We will create a new posting for the Flower Wasp.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination