Currently viewing the category: "Velvet Ants"
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Subject: A weird insect
Location: Greece,Rhodes
January 30, 2014 6:25 am
Hello, sorry about the comment but I was confused of this site. Well,this insect is almost 2 cm long, it hasn’t got any wings, its brown colour (near to red ),and the rest of it’s body is bee’s colour. It has got 6 legs and when i touched it, it made a sound like a hamster.
Signature: Manol

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Hi Manol,
Though in English it is commonly called a Velvet Ant, this is actually a flightless female wasp in the family Mutillidae.  They are known for makings sounds as you described.  We found a very similar looking Velvet Ant from Greece on FlickR, but it is not identified to the species level.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: night fliers!
Location: Central Chile, Coastal Mountains (Matorral, rural)
January 24, 2014 6:15 am
Hi bugman,
I have been perusing your site for years trying to identify this creature that enjoys flying into my eyes at night. I rarely see them during the day but as soon as the sun goes down, they begin appearing on my walls and on the outsides of my windows (so I don’t think they live inside, I think they just come inside at some point during the day). When I go to bed and read, they are attracted to the light and fly into my face, causing me to nickname them “jerks.” They do not sting or bite, just annoy. They are only around during the summer– after the first frost they disappear and I rejoice!
Finally I have an internet connection fast enough to send a picture and I found one in the kitchen this morning (I left the light on in there last night in hopes of attracting them there instead of into my bedroom). This guy is about 1cm in length but I have seen various sizes from just a couple of mm up to about 1.5 cm. As much as I hate them, I can’t bring myself to kill things, so this guy was rehomed to the outside. But I’d love to know what they are so I can figure out how to … well, incentivize visiting some other area at night!
Signature: Stefanie

Nocturnal Wasp

Nocturnal Wasp

Hi Stefanie,
This nocturnal Hymenopteran is some species of Wasp.  We will post your image, attempt an identification and enlist the assistance of our readership.  Congratulations on your internet upgrade.

Thanks!! I thought it might be a non-stinging wasp but I’m not exactly a pro at this so I wasn’t sure. I had never seen a non-stinging wasp before. It’s astounding the number of curious things you find floating around in the night!

Hi again Stefanie,
Male wasps do not sting.  Please see Eric Eaton’s response.

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
I’m on my way out the door, but….It is a male wasp, something related to velvet ants; but the taxonomy of all those related families is so complex, based on such minute characters, that I’m not sure anybody could tell you anything more from images alone.  One really needs to put the specimen under a microscope.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s This Bug?
Location: Colombia
November 9, 2013 11:34 pm
I found this on the railing of the stairs of my work.
Signature: Omar D.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Hi Omar,
We believe this is a Velvet Ant in the family Mutillidae.  She looks very similar to the
Hoplomutilla species from Guyana pictured on American Insects.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps that reported deliver a painful sting if carelessly handled.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Thanks Daniel!
My bug really looks like a Velvet Ant. Thanks for the warning about the sting.
Good to know.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: is this a spider or an ant?
Location: Covington, ga
September 15, 2013 1:48 pm
my husband says ant, I say spider
Signature: felicia

Cow Killer

Cow Killer

Hi Felicia,
This is neither a spider nor an ant, so neither of you is correct, however, if points are awarded for closeness, your husband would be the winner.  This is a Cow Killer,
Dasymutilla occidentalis, and it is a flightless female wasp in the family Mutilidae.  Ants and Wasps are classified in the same order, Hymenoptera, and the common name of the members of the family Mutilidae is Velvet Ant, so your husband has the proximity of the order as well as the common name of the family.  Cow Killers get their common name because of the alleged pain of the sting they deliver.  It is said to be painful enough to kill a cow, however, a cow would not directly die from the sting.  We have heard that stung cows will sometimes run, and it is possible they might run into a ditch where they might break their necks or run into a road where they might get hit by a truck.  At any rate, you should not try to handle a Cow Killer, which we have included in our Big 5 tag.

Hi Daniel
Thank you! I did some research after I emailed you and found out what it was. I have a child who is completing a “bug project” and seemingly we are finding all types of bugs. I am exited about bugs, I feel as if I should have become an entomologist :o)
Thanks you for your labor of love, your response is very much appreciated!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what kind of bug is this?
Location: Southern Maryland
August 21, 2013 10:53 am
I found this bug in my sons room. I thought it was a ant but when I tried to kill it, it squeaks and then I looked at it closer and it did not look like any ant I have ever seen. My son is allergic to ants and I am a little concerned because this bug looks mean.
Signature: Angela N.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Angela,
This is a Velvet Ant, which is actually a flightless female wasp reported to have a very painful sting.  They should not be handled.  Thank you for providing both a dorsal and ventral view.

Velvet Ant ventral view

Velvet Ant ventral view

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Odd bug on cucumbers
Location: Houston texas
July 27, 2013 2:32 pm
Found these on my cucumbers. They were not bothering me but it seems the more of them that show up the worse my cucumbers are doing.
Signature: Thanks, chris

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Hi Chris,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp.  While she will not harm your cucumbers, you should exercise caution and not handle this Velvet Ant as they are reported to deliver a very painful sting.  Based on photos posted to BugGuide, we believe this might be
Dasymutilla quadriguttata.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination