Subject: Velvet Wasp
Geographic location of the bug: Central North Carolina
Time: 04:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Kitty discovered this inside our house. I got to it before she did and found your site that identified 8t. I hadn’t found an orange one. My question is, is it beneficial (if so, I’ll release it), and how do we prevent others entering our house? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed: Prefer red velvet cake
You are correct that this is a Velvet Ant, a female wasp in the family Mutillidae, and we believe we have correctly identified it as Timulla euterpe thanks to images posted to BugGuide, though BugGuide only documents two sightings, one from Louisiana and one from Tennessee, indicating this is not a commonly encountered species. We would urge you to release her. The best way to ensure no further encounters in the home is to seal gaps in windows and doors. Female Velvet Ants wander in search of suitable hosts to serve as food for her brood, and we believe she accidentally entered your home, so you most likely will not need to worry much about further intrusions. According to BugGuide: “Ectoparasitoids of immature insects, esp. bees and solitary wasps (also flies, limacodid moths, beetles, and cockroaches)” and predatory species help to control numbers of other insects, so we would consider this native species to be beneficial. As is characteristic of members of the family, female Velvet Ants are known to deliver a painful sting.