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

Subject: Spider? Ant?
Location: San Jose del Cabo, BCS Mexico
December 14, 2014 6:26 pm
We are in Los Cabos Mexico. Have seen two of these on our patio today. What are they?
Signature: Cheryl C.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Cheryl C.,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp in the genus
Dasymutilla.  You should try not to handle Velvet Ants, or handle with extreme caution as the sting is reported to be extremely painful.  Only female Velvet Ants are flightless, and only female Velvet Ants sting.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Cowkiller

Cow Killer

Subject: Cowkiller
Location: south Louisiana
October 10, 2014 8:15 pm
What’s up Bug man! I caught a red velvet ant/wasp in my back yard while I was mowing and I put it in a container. What can I feed it?
Signature: Jon Hite

Dear Jon,
Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps, and most adult wasps take nectar or other sweet, sugary liquids as food.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults (males?) take nectar.”  Perhaps honey will suffice.

Juan Figueroa, Racheal Sedmack, Rob Nease, Tim Rogers, Susie Boyd, Kyla Gunter Gatlin liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ant or mite?
Location: Sonoran Desert, Arizona
September 16, 2014 6:01 pm
Is this a Thistledown Velvet Ant? I stopped to take a break and my eye caught this little critter moving rather quickly on the trail. When I bent down to get a closer look, it stopped and put its rear end up at me. I moved to get a view of the front, but everywhere I went, this little guy turned its butt to me. This was the only photo it would let me get! This was on a trail at Granite Mountain in the Rio Verde Foothills area northeast of Scottsdale, in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Signature: Paige

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Paige,
We are confident that this is a Velvet Ant, but we cannot state for certain that it is a Thistledown Velvet Ant.

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