What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large red ant This time, with photo!
I found this ant crawling through my hallway and have tried unsuccessfully to identify it. Can you help? It is about 1/2 inch long. I thought it might be some type of carpenter ant; they are pretty common around here. This little guy has a very distinctive white stripe around his abdomen, though, and I couldn’t find anything similar in my bug books or online. Thank you!
Cedar Hill, TX
p.s.: Sorry, I forgot to attach the photo the first time

Hi Mandy,
Though it looks like an ant, and is called a Velvet Ant, your insect is a flightless female wasp. Be careful, as she can deliver a very painful sting.

(12/08/2007) Large red ant
I’m sorry, but I don’t think so. I know what velvet ants look like, I have had them in my yard. (see attached photo) I know they are actually wingless wasps. They are much bigger, and much hairier than this bug. This guy is large for an ant, but only 1/2 inch. I know it looks large in the picture, but I had a hard time putting something next it for size contrast since it wouldn’t be still.

Hi again Mandy,
We gave you a very general answer. Velvet Ants are a family of wasps, the females of which are generally brightly colored and flightless. The family is Mutillidae. Your original image might be in the genus Timulla, or the genus Pseudomethoca, or perhaps some other genus. We are not sure of the species. Your second photo is also a Velvet Ant, and this one is in the genus Dasymutilla. It appears to be a Cow Killer, Dasymutilla occidentalis, but the photo is too blurry to be certain. So both of your images are of Velvet Ants, but they are different species.

Update: (04/02/2008) ID for insects
Hey, my name is Will, this is a list of the ID’s for the velvet ant page. 3. sphaeropthalma pensylvanica.
image 4. could be either dasymutilla californica, coccineohirta, or vestita depending on local. hope this helps a bit. hope this helps a bit.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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9 Responses to Two Different Velvet Ants

  1. Manny says:

    Just to let everyone know that this wasp has a nasty sting, I happen to pick one up with leather gloves on and its sting penetrated through the gloves made me jump two feet off the ground, scream and run like a fool, it felt like my finger was on fire, and it hurt for about 20-30 minutes–
    Dont try this at home!!!

  2. Pamela says:

    I found this same insect in my house, twice this week 🙁 no luck here to help identify it either. No, its not a velvet wasp. I agree with you here.

  3. angie says:

    I had one of them ants in my shoe, the first pic, it bites, it made my two swell so bad I cant wear my shoes. if this was of the wasp family I would be in er after wards cause I am highly allergic to bees, and wasps.

  4. Janie says:

    Got stung 2 days ago by the first wasp, at home while sitting at my computer. Stung like a devils pitchfork!! It left its stinger under my skin and had to fish it out. Still feeling the burn!

  5. C-Jack usually says:

    I just killed one like this today. I caught the lil’ bugger walking across my leg while playing some video games and it startled the hell out of me! I’ve never seen any ant like that before in my life to be honest. I stomped on that thing HARD about 3 or 4 times (on a tiled floor mind you) and it was still alive (even though it couldn’t move). It sure was tough as nails to withstand me stepping on it. I’m counting my lucky stars that I didn’t get bitten like some of the unfortunate previous posters have. Ouch! So I had to look up to see what in the world did I just encountered today here in (central) Florida.

  6. Randi says:

    I saw this exact same insect on my house, except it had wings. It did Stu g me on the back of my neck, but it was NOTHING like a velvet ant sting. O don’t believe the original photo is a velvet ant, because velvet ants don’t have wings.

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