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

Subject: what’s this bug?
Location: southern california
April 20, 2014 6:25 pm
i’ve seen this bug 3 or 4 times while hiking dirt trails in the san gabriel mountains in southern california, in this month of april it’s a fast mover, approximately one-half inch long, and doesn’t seem to be hostile…seemed more intent on running away from anything put in it’s path. the actual red is very deep but i lightened the picture to help bring out detail…..
Signature: john roush

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Dear John,
We posted another image of a Red Haired Velvet Ant,
Dasymutilla aureola, earlier today, but the critter was rather small in the digital file, and though we requested a higher resolution image, it was not available.  This makes your submission even more desirable today.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps.  Do not try to handle a Velvet Ant as you will most likely be surprised by a very painful sting.  We have heard that Velvet Ants are capable of stinging through garden gloves.

Thank you for the information on the Red Haired Velvet Ant!!       Feel free to use the photo i submitted…..    john roush

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Red Haired Velvet Ant
Location: Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, California
April 18, 2014
hello, what’s that bug? !
i know what this is called and saw it in Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, CA.
in “California Insects”, (Powell and Hogue) it is described as, “It is one of our commonest species, ranging widely in the Coastal Ranges”. however, i have only seen two before. do you think they are less common now?
thank you,
clare

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Thanks for the image Clare.  Do you have a larger file?  According to BugGuide, the Red Haired Velvet Ant is Dasymutilla aureola, and it is reported from California and Oregon.

Red Haired Velvet Ant:  Larger file

Red Haired Velvet Ant: Larger file

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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