Currently viewing the category: "Velvet Ants"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bug identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Scottsdale Arizona
Date: 04/15/2019
Time: 02:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
We were on a Hummer excursion near Scottsdale on an Indian reservation and I saw this guy crossing one of the paths. The guide said it was a baby tarantula but I’m doubtful because of the legs. I’m hoping you can help identify it.
Thank you,
How you want your letter signed:  Traci Curtis

Velvet Ant

Dear Traci,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless, solitary, female Wasp that is reported to have a very painful sting.  This is most likely a member of the genus
Dasymutilla, which is well represented on BugGuide, and it might be the Magnificent Velvet Ant, Dasymutilla magnifica, which is pictured on the Arizona Naturalist site where it states:  “The sting is reportedly very painful, but it’s function is to disarm other stinging insects such as bees. Velvet ants enter the nests of other wasps/bees, sting the owner into submission, and lay their own egg in the owner’s larder. Later the developing velvet ant grub will consume the bee grub. Some other velvet ants are parasites of grasshopper eggs in the soil.”

Thank you for the information and links. One of the sites said they are hard to photograph because they don’t stay on the trails long. This one was a friendly little ant and I’m happy we didn’t decide to pick it up!
Have a great day!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Stings
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Virginia
Date: 08/11/2018
Time: 08:22 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This creature was in my house and stung my foot. It really hurt and caused some swelling. I typically don’t have bad reaction to stings so I just put some ice on spot and rubbed in some Benadryl cream.
How you want your letter signed:  Ed

Velvet Ant

Dear Ed,
Your image is quite blurry, but based on your description, we are relatively certain this is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp with a reportedly very painful sting.

Thank you. Yes, very painful.
I enjoy your site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this a velvet ant species?
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington, Texas
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 11:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this in our home in Washington, Texas. Looks like an ant, but could be a velvet ant (aka wasp). I’d appreciate any help identifying!
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you!

Velvet Ant

You are correct that this is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp in the family Mutillidae and not a true Ant.  Velvet Ants should be handled with caution as they are capable of delivering a painful sting.  We are unable to provide you with a species name at this time.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Velvet Wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Central North Carolina
Date: 06/10/2018
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

Velvet Ant

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  cow killer or Velvet ant
Geographic location of the bug:  humble texas
Date: 01/19/2018
Time: 01:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:
here sir are 3 pics of this  beautiful female wingless Wasp, I found in Humble Texas . It was about as round as a chocolate mini tootsie roll candy and about 1 &1/4 inches long , and very beautiful. after letting it crawl all over my arms chest and shoulder, I took it to the fence line and leaned back against a tall cedar tree that was surrounded by smaller nest of wild bee’s . and it went after the other bee’s nest . I thought cool no more pesky and bothersome sweat bee’s and mock honey bee’s.
I watched it for about a month and then it was gone . it was one of the most beautiful Little wasp I have ever seen and very genital with me as I was with it  .
I do feel blessed to have been able to witness such a beautiful little critter doing its thing .
Have a blessed day Sir.
How you want your letter signed:  Mr David Mullins

Cowkiller

Dear Mr. Mullins,
Your account of your encounter with this beautiful Cowkiller, the largest North American Velvet Ant, is so earnest that we are truly touched, but you should be warned that the sting of a Cowkiller is reported to be very painful.  You are a brave soul to allow it to crawl all over your arms chest and shoulder.  She obviously did not feel threatened by the experience.  We strongly suspect, though, that your experience was genial or gentle rather than genital.

Cowkiller

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Fuzzy white bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Henderson, NV
Date: 10/17/2017
Time: 04:12 PM EDT
Found what looks like a white fuzzy bee on the ground, I couldn’t tell if it had wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Dani

Velvet Ant

Dear Dani,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp in the family Mutillidae.  The closest visual match we could locate on BugGuide is this image of
Dasymutilla thetis.  You should not attempt to handle any Velvet Ants you encounter.  The sting is reported to be quite painful.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination