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
Location: Cedar Hill, Texas

16 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!

    • bugman says:

      Interesting that the stinger was left in your finger. That is news to us and we suspect it was an anomaly.

  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.

  7. Ndy says:

    You can easily tell in the first photo it is indeed a wasp. The antennae are not jointed like ants.

  8. Michael Marcantel says:

    Males have wings females do not. It is a velvet ant. Just a different species.

  9. Christina says:

    I’ve also found one of these on my back deck today. Clear white stripe, but not as hairy. Seems to me like a variant of the red velvet ant, but I’m no pro. I’m in Alvin, TX, South of Houston.

  10. Shirley S Griffey says:

    I found two (on different occasions) by a salt water swimming pool. I tried to smash it with my flip flop (ended up in two pieces) and both the head and tail were hard as rocks–never could smash them. I live outside Richmond, VA. Would love to know if this thing is a wasp and beneficial. Don’t really recall if I saw wings or not.

  11. Joseph says:

    I just caught one and im taking a picture of it to post on here i goin to let it sting me on the tongue i will let you know what happens hope it isnt to painful.

  12. Kaitlin says:

    So what kind of ant is this cause I have little ones and they are crawling still and I found one in the house killed it took forever to kill and then I found another one outside just now and I’m flipping out. How do I find the nest and kill it I’m in central Florida.

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