What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Velvet ant in the napkin drawer?
April 10, 2010
Hello again,
I was very, very surprised to find this little guy hanging out in our napkin drawer today. There isn’t any food (or theoretically other prey insects) in the drawer, it’s middle in height, and we haven’t brought in any plants to that room recently, so how she got there is a mystery. And a potentially disturbing one if I am right in my assumption that she’s a velvet ant/cow killer. Is that what it is, or is there something else which might have a better reason for being there? I was sorely tempted to squish it for fear of its sting, especially if it’s getting into such unsuspecting places, but I let it go instead (as pictured).
Stephen C
North Carolina

Velvet Ant

Dear Stephen,
We are not even going to attempt to speculate how this Velvet Ant got into your napkin drawer, but you did correctly identify it.  It is not a Cow Killer, Dasymutilla occidentalis.  Based on photos posted to BugGuide, in our mind it most resembles Dasymutilla vesta, which has no common name but the general family name of Velvet Ant.  We are certain she is much better off released than she was in your napkin drawer.

Velvet Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to Velvet Ant

  1. cedillamuerta says:

    This individual actually belongs in the genus Pseudomethoca, due to the shape and size of the thorax relative to the head.

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