Velvet Mites or Angelitos

Red furry bug
I found you on the Internet and it sounded like you would welcome Entomology questions. I have lived in the Phoenix Arizona area for over 50 years and frequently walk in the deserts of our great valley. I recently moved and now back up to the desert so I have the opportunity to walk the hills even more. Yesterday I was taking a hike up our mountain by the house and found a red furry looking insect, but don’t know what it is. I know growing up I used to see a different type of furry bug in a variety of colors; we called them "cow killers" but am sure that is not their real name. I have attached a few pictures of the bugs I just saw and would ask your assistance in identifying them. They actually look like ticks, but never saw a tick like that.
Thanks so much for your response

Hi Chris,
Cow Killer is a common local name for a Velvet Ant, a female flightless wasp. You have Velvet Mites, or Angelitos. These desert dwellers usually appear after rain and are predatory on grasshoppers.

1 thought on “Velvet Mites or Angelitos”

  1. In the 80s, after a good rain, my grandmother (Wela) would take my little brother and me on walks looking for these beautiful little creatures. It’s been decades since I’ve seen one, but this post brought back a flood of memories. Thank you from Alice, Texas.


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