Currently viewing the category: "Velvet Ants"
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

Subject: What is this?
Location: Simi Valley, CA USA
May 30, 2013 6:40 pm
My daughter just brought this into our house. What is it? It looks like a cross between a bee and a furry spider. She found it in the sand. Thank you!
Signature: Reg

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Reg,
Tell your daughter to be cautious.  This is a Velvet Ant in the genus
Dasymutilla.  Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps that are reported to have a very painful sting.  They are not aggressive, but they do defend themselves.  We are not certain of the species, but this might be Dasymutilla sackenii since it is close to this photo on BugGuide.  We are postdating your submission to go live in early June while we are out of the office.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Curious about an unknown bug
Location: Found hidden in the dirt.
May 3, 2013 12:26 am
Hello, bugman. I was wondering around in the backyard earlier today and I found this very interesting bug. I’m not sure what it really is, but i was really curious to find out. I captured it and now I have it in a open container I made for it. I asked some friends and family if they might know it but no. I tried finding pictures or websites that might help me identify the bug, but no help. Then I ran into whatsthatbug.com! I’m not really sure how to explain what type of bug it is but to me, it looks like a bee or a fly mixed with another insect. I’m not too sure, but i’ll leave it to the experts! I’d love to hear back! Thank you so much!
Signature: Miguel

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Miguel,
Handle this gal with caution.  She is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp reported to have a very painful sting.  We don’t want to try to identify your Velvet Ant to the species level without a location.  If you are in Arizona, this might be
Dasymutilla eminentia which is pictured on BugGuide.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: ant
Location: St Lucia, South Africa
December 28, 2012 12:33 pm
What k7nd of ant is this.
Signature: any

Velvet Ant

Dear any,
This is a Velvet Ant in the family Mutillidae, a flightless female wasp (males have wings) that is reported to have an incredibly painful sting, if they are anything like their North American relatives.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Velvet Ant
Location: Cookeville, TN
September 18, 2012 9:58 am
I was recently camping in Cookeville, TN when this colorful bug came running through our campsite. A couple days later I was able to identify it as a female Red Velvet Ant. I thought you may like to have these photos for your archives.
Sorry they aren’t a little more focused, the pics were taken on my phone and that little bugger is FAST!
I heard rumors that the blue ones lived there too but I wasn’t lucky enough to see one.
Signature: Lex

Velvet Ant

Hi Lex,
Thanks for sending in your photo.  It nicely depicts the coloration and markings of the Velvet Ant commonly called a Cowkiller.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A velvet ant & unrequited wasp love. Attempt number two.
Location: Palmyra, NJ & Philadelphia, PA
July 31, 2012 11:58 am
Please forgive me if these two photos have been previously received. I attempted to submit these late last week, however I didn’t get a confirmation E-mail so I’m not sure if my submission was successful.
The photos were taken on Sunday July 22, 2012. The first one was taken at Palmyra Cove Nature Park in Palmyra, NJ. (Had I realized that August’s bug of the month was the cow killer I would have taken a few photos of that species when I was there yesterday.) It took two trips to the park and three encounters with this particular species of velvet ant before I was able to get a photo of it.
The 1st time we came across one, she ran and hid in her burrow before I was able to get my phone out and snap a photo.
The 2nd encounter was in a grassy area & due to the grass obstructing the wasp I wasn’t able to capture a photo. I tried to coax her out into the open using a small twig, but she started to make an audible squeaking sound that told me that it was time to back off.
Finally on the third encounter, we found one in an open sandy area. Though she tried to run, she had more than enough space to run for me to have the time to get out my phone and take a picture.
After doing some research, with the aid of your site, I believe that I’ve identified her as Dasymutilla Vesta. Though, I could easily be wrong as I am no expert on insects.
After returning home from the park I noticed this pair of what I believe are black and yellow mud daubers trying to get busy on the Helenium that I planted a few years ago. Though, I’m not sure if the female was interested. The male was jabbing away furiously at the female’s abdomen but he never seemed to find his mark. Perhaps we killed the mood by barging in on them, or perhaps she had a headache.
I’ve taken a few other photos of some other insects at Palmyra Cove that I wouldn’t mind sharing with you, provided that multiple submissions from one individual wouldn’t be a nuisance. I honestly think that I’m one of the few people who go to that park mainly to see the insect life over any of the other wildlife that lives there.
Thank you for your time.
Signature: Dave

Velvet Ant

Hi Dave,
Thanks for your persistence.  We did receive your original submission, and we intended to post it, but alas, we didn’t get to it and suddenly your email got buried under the deluge of summer identification requests we receive.  Thank you again for resending.  We cannot for certain identify the Velvet Ant to the species level, but another possibility based on BugGuide images and range information might be the genus
Ephuta.   We have heard the squeaking noise you describe and for such tiny creatures, Velvet Ants are able to make a disproportionate amount of noise.  We will nonetheless tag this as a Bug Love entry even though you didn’t actually capture the mating act with your camera.  We would love to receive other submissions from you, especially of species that are not well represented on our site or images that are exceptional for other reasons.
Please in the future, only submit one specimen at a time.  We like to have each posting be a distinct species unless there is some relationship between two species that is significant.

Black and Yellow Mud Daubers

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination