Subject: Big red looking ant.
Location: Kingsport, Tennessee, USA
April 10, 2015 2:04 pm
I fould a red/scarlet ant looking insect on my porch. It has black and white stripes on the bottom of it. It’s about the size of a fingernail. It’s spring time. I have never seen anything like this insect before. I don’t know if it’s an ant or not. I would really appreciate it if you could answer my question. What is it? Thank you.
Signature: Ashley

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Ashley,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp that is reported to have an extremely painful sting.  Based on this BugGuide image, it might be
Dasymutilla scaevola.

Location: Kingsport, Tennessee

5 Responses to Velvet Ant

  1. That’s the oddest pattern I’ve ever seen on a velvet ant. We have them all over from Dallas to east Texas. More the further east you go, but they are all either solid red or have red with black stripes. No white.

  2. We call them “cow killers”

    • bugman says:

      Cow Killer is generally a common name that refers to one species of Velvet Ant, Dasymutilla occidentalis, and it is one of the species with the widest distributions. It is also one of the larger species. See BugGuide for additional information on the Cow Killer.

  3. Dwyn says:

    Found one in my pocket a few minutes ago, am now the proud owner of my first velvet-ant sting. :V

    I’m in south-east Alabama, for reference

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