Currently viewing the category: "Velvet Ants"
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

Subject:  Is it a bug? A spider? What is it?
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California hills
Date: 10/17/2017
Time: 03:56 PM EDT
My Cub Scouts found this guy on the trail in the hills of Southern California on a warm October early evening. Any idea what he is?
How you want your letter signed:  Dawn

Velvet Ant

Dear Dawn,
Your Scouts encountered an insect commonly called a Velvet Ant, actually a flightless female Wasp that packs quite a painful sting.  There are many species of Velvet Ants in the world, and Southern California might have the greatest diversity of these members of the family Mutillidae.  We will attempt a species identification for you.

Update:  BugGuideBased on this image, this might be Dasymutilla californica.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Velvet Ant
Geographic location of the bug:  San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Riverside, CA
Date: 09/18/2017
Time: 01:20 PM EDT
Found this furry guy (actually a gal as she is wingless) crawling along the ground while I was out taking bird photos this past weekend. Thankfully, I was alerted to her presence before she had a chance to crawl up my leg! After a circle around my chair leg, she moved on. Thanks for helping me identify her and many other species!
How you want your letter signed:  Suzanne

Velvet Ant

Dear Suzanne,
The only Velvet Ant in the genus
Dasymutilla with a velvety black body and a red abdomen reported from California on BugGuide is Dasymutilla magnifica.  Your images are gorgeous.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large fuzzy ant
Location: Nevada
August 11, 2017 2:11 am
Hello! I found this lil’ guy tonight. I was watching TV when I found them crawling on my arm. I’ve never seen something like this before; what are they? And are they dangerous ? ( brown, 2 white stripes)
Signature: – thank you so much!

Velvet Ant

Commonly called a Velvet Ant, your insect is actually a flightless female wasp in the family Mutilidae.  The closest match we could locate on BugGuide is identified as Dasymutilla vestita, but curiously, it looks like none of the other representatives of the species posted to BugGuide.  Velvet Ants should be handled with extreme caution.  They are reported to have a very painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What bug is this
Location: Houma Louisiana
August 5, 2017 7:16 pm
We have no clue what kind of bug this is would like to know if possible because it bit my cousin we live in south Louisiana and it’s summer time here any info would be helpful thank you
Signature: Linda

velvet ant stings

I know what a velvet ant is because I use to live in Mississippi and had them bad there it looks nothing like that   And there’s no velvet on it anywhere

Velvet Ant

Hi again Linda,
This is a Velvet Ant in the family Mutillidae
.  The most commonly encountered Velvet Ant in the eastern U.S. is the Cowkiller, Dasymutilla occidentalis, and that species is indeed velvety.  There is much diversity in the genus, especially in the western states, where you find the Thistledown Velvet Ant which doesn’t look much like the Cowkiller.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps and they are reported to have a very painful sting.  Your individual resembles this unidentified Velvet Ant on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination