Fuzzy Doesn’t Mean Friendly: Red Velvet Ants



image credit: EugeneNatureObserver
Red Velvet Ants, Dasymutilla aureola pacificaimage credit: mrnickon
Red Velvet Ants, Dasymutilla aureola pacificaimage credit: sjb5
Red Velvet Ants, Dasymutilla aureola pacificaimage credit: arthurevans.wordpress.com

© David Guzman

Habitat: occur worldwide, with some 5000 species, mainly in the tropics.
Status: No conservation concerns

These colorful, fuzzy Red Velvet Ants (Dasymutilla aureola pacifica) aren’t really ants at all – they’re wasps! The females lack wings which makes them resemble ants… definitely had me fooled.Their name “velvet ant” does refer to the wasp’s dense hair which comes in a variety of colors, including white, blue, gold, black, silver, and red as show in this subspecies. The vivid coloration serves as a warning to other animals that these wasps aren’t exactly friendly. In fact, they’re also known as cow killersbecause their sting is said to be “strong enough to kill a cow,” although this isn’t actually the case… it just really hurts!The earliest-known velvet ants are specimens from the Dominican Republic preserved in amber some 25 to 40 million years ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Here in South Georgia, we call them Cow-ants and avoid them like the plague.

    • Floridagirl

      That is what I always called them here in North Florida as well, cow ants and you certainly do not want to get stung by one.

      • Lisa

        My baby just got stung by 1 of these, she was outside with her sister

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16941846553980567347 Tricia

    I can think of a few people I’d like to throw a fistful of these guys at! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16932495960253800127 April

    Yikes! I get nervous just looking at those photos…

  • Anonymous

    We have one in Morley, MO

  • Anonymous

    Just caught one in Fayetteville, AR this morning. She don’t look real friendly. I would hate for the kids to step her. Watch out!!

    • Ryan

      I live in Fayetteville also, and see them all the time. Cool looking ant, but now I know their bite is venomous, I’ll keep my distance. Fayettechill!!!!! Love y’all!

  • Anonymous

    Have one on our porch in Central KY

    • Anonymous

      Found one in northern Kentucky

    • Anonymous

      I just found one for the first time in Northern KY. Crazy looking bug! I had to catch it in a plastic bag, while I googled it & showed everyone! It was hissing and/or buzzing at me!

    • Anonymous

      Yes they have a very hard exoskeleton and let off pheromone when they are agitated so if you can avoid them please do , I don’t know if they live in a hive or colony but don’t handle them around other ones when you kill them you spread their pheromones about so if you can just avoid them , I was at fort Benning sand hill area on FTEx and picked one up with gloved hand it made noises and I watched it’s stinger go into my glove about thirteen times in the seven or eight seconds I held it. I believe they let off pheromones because the next day I woke up with a wheal the size of a ping pong ball on the wrist of the gloved hand. Just leave them be

  • Suzanne Hubbell

    See them all the time in South Louisiana. Compared to rattle snakes, alligators, and rats with 3 inch teeth, I’ll take em.

  • Anonymous

    Found one today on our back deck. Good teaching moment with the kids. Treat them with respect.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13341755842786450977 Rasberryrum

    Saw one in the parking lot outside my office today. Never seen anything like it. Thanks for the info.. kinda cool.

  • Dancing Rabbit

    I’ve seen them hanging around Cicada Killer nest burrow colonies. I’ve read they deposit their eggs on the Cicada Killer larvae. Cicada Killers are pretty scary looking but seem to be for the most part non-aggressive.

    I like your site… Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I live in Riverview, FL and have for 38 yrs. In that time I only came across 5. But in the last 3 weeks we have come across 6 in our yard. Only one got away but we actually had to chop the others in half to kill them. Nothing we tried first worked. We tried grinding it into the ground with our foot, bug spray (and we drowned it in it, trust me)and finally chopped it with a shovel. Is there any way to safeguard your yard? I have a 5 yr old.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I’m the girl from Riverview and i had to let anyone who reads this know that I’m an extreme animal and nature lover. I’m very allergic to honey bees but I always save any that I find in our pool because i know their integral part in our food chain, but the sting from a red velvet ant is extremely painful and can sometimes cause death,so being a person with an insect allergy and a young child who also has an insect allergy, I have to unfortunately choose to kill them when we see them. I just needed to clarify that. And I have to let you know this is the first time I have ever read ANYONE’S blog and it is just incredible. Thank you so much for your time and effort. Planning to join your followers.

  • Anonymous

    Found one in Louisville, KY. Took me 5 times stepping on it to finally get it to stop running. This dude (or female after reading this) is a straight up bad a$$….

  • Eric

    I live in Charlotte, NC. I have 15+ years as a Pest Control Technician. I would occasionally see these ants usually one or two at a time. About a year ago I saw about a hundred of them. They were swarming an odorous house ant nest. They were everywhere. It was pretty awesome since my customer was having a serious odorous house ant infestation.

  • Anonymous

    where in the world do they be running to? Every time i see one its in a hurry, got an appointment? They have amazed me for 30 years…

  • Anonymous

    Saw a ton of those while growing up in South Louisiana. They’re not that aggressive, but if you accidentally touch them, the sting is very painful, as I was unfortunate to find out as a child. If you are allergic, I suppose that they would be dangerous, but other than that, just painful.

  • Anonymous

    We live in southern California and saw one on a hike yesterday. we didnt know what it was so we took a picture and posted to FB and the concensus was that it wa this guy.

  • Anonymous

    Great photo! We also were on a hike today in So. Calif. near the beach and saw one of these “ants”. Third photo from the top is exactly the species we saw. So surprised to find out that it is actually a wasp and can cause an allergic reaction! I have big time allergies and am now going to stay away from these creatures. Thanks so much for the photo. Never would have known what it was! What are they doing in California??? I’ve lived here all my life and this is the first one I’ve ever seen!

  • Anonymous

    I’m doing a project on them do you guys know what their role in food chain is? This might be a hard question because only so many people have heard of them.

  • Anonymous

    Grantville Ga. I was out walking with my 16 month old, as soon as she saw it she wanted to pick it up, scared me to death.

  • Anonymous

    Found 2 today at an elementary school in Land O Lakes Florida. First ones I have ever seen and I am a native of the area.

  • Anonymous

    Saw one when I took my chihuahua right now! Scared me to death I’ve never seen one in my life till now!!!

  • Anonymous

    As of today, I can verify that Fort DeSoto Beach, FL has at least one. It looked exactly like the fourth picture. From what I have read it was probably laying eggs in the larvae in ground nests. I saw one as a kid in Lutz, Florida and I saw one in Madeira Beach, Florida a few years ago. It is always interesting the things we learn when we take the time to be observant.

  • Anonymous

    We have several in our back yard in Sacramento, CA.

  • Anonymous

    Saw two – one male and one female. I live in Evans Georgia and noticed a bug flying around nervously. He was black and good size wasp but not big. I then noticed a big red ant with black stripes (at least I thought it was an ant). The male was flying around her. I got my phone out to take a picture and tried to take a picture of her – at the same time he landed on her. The picture was a little fuzzy – I wonder why! Anyway after he was done she brushed herself off and continued on her way. My pictures of her looked exactly as the ones above. John

  • Anonymous

    i just saw this thing running around in my front yard! I just sent my one year old in the house! I stepped on this thing atleast 6 or 7 times and it kept on moving in a hurry! The dang thing is still alive somewhere in my yard and I want it out! Guess im gonna have to carry around a shovel!!!

  • Anonymous

    Several in our yard in fayetteville nc. Yuck!

  • Anonymous

    I collect bugs and I found 3 velvet ants!
    I found 2 orange ones and a small sandy coloerd one in eastern Washington. It was hard to get the neddle through them to pin them on my board! I think they are awesome!! They are my favorite bugs!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10994449499565363257 CarlyB

    So glad you guys have enjoyed this post. I’ve really enjoyed reading all your comments and the experiences you’ve had with these curious wasps. Please keep documenting your encounters for me (and the rest of us)! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03430884116832840530 Matthew Peltier

    Found one in Terre Haute Indiana, never saw them here before and I usually keep an eye out for that sort of thing.

  • Anonymous

    Saw one last week on our back porch in Fairview, TN. Never knew what they were (have seen 3 or 4 in my 42 years). Thanks for the blog! I love that I can always turn to the internet to get an answer!

  • Anonymous

    I was camping in eastern Tennessee a few years back and was stung by one. It felt like fire. I cant remember ever experiencing anything that hurt like that. And I have been stung by wasps and bees. The pain was intense for about one minute then quickly subsided. Avoid them if you can.

  • Anonymous

    I found one yesterday in my mothers yard. In Hickman County Tennessee. I had never seen one before and we found one more today. Is there any way you can kill these things?

    • Jack

      Get cowboy boots and step on them with the heel multiple times. At least that’s what I did haha. Took me 7 times with the heel and finally I just pressed on its head hard with the toe and killed it.

  • Anonymous

    I found one in my pool today and tried drowning it for about 5 mins and it didn’t work! Then i tried to step on it, didn’t work! Then I cut it in half with a shovel and finally it died!!! I have looked at some pics on the Internet and have found out it was a male. I hate those things!!!!! Sorry that’s just my opinion :)

  • Anonymous

    Wow i just freaked out my son just got stung by one i was glad to find this to make sure they werent poisonous! Thank u!!!

  • Anonymous

    I saw one in my backyard today so I googled it and found this blog. I have never seen anything like this before and it looked scary! I live in Roseville, Ca. I hope I don’t see anymore but I’m going to have an exterminator come out anyways.

  • Anonymous

    We found one in my flower bed in Sioux City IOWA! I have never seen or heard of these before! When we saw it I guessed it was some kind of wasp because of the size and body shape. But I googled giant red and black ant and found this and other sources of info. First I find that they don’t live in colonies but then I see on here that people are finding several of them at a time. Also everyone who is posting lives in a warm climate(year round). I live in IOWA, how common sre these here. Also when I saw it, sprayed it with wasp nest foam, didn’t check to see if that killed it, but after reading some of these post I am nervous that it didn’t die. What should I do if it is still out there or if I see more? I have small children that I do not want to end up stung by this thing!

  • Anonymous

    I live in Augusta, GA. I saw one something running across my driveway today. I went to go go see what it was, and found of these guys crawling around like a hunting dog on the trail of a prey. Like others, I tried spraying bug killer and stepping on it with no success. It keep going. I finally had to cut it in half to kill it too. It would be scary to have a swarm of these things coming your way.

  • Anonymous

    I just found one on my driveway. I put a jar over it because I wanted to see it close-up. It curled up and is still in the jar on my front porch. I am waiting for it to die before I open the jar to look at it. I guess I will be careful to not get stung. I live in Ellettsville, Indiana. Not usually a warm climate but it has been a very hot summer. Wonder if that is what is bringing them to the central US. We also have several cicada killers in our yard.

  • Anonymous

    Hi i live in texas , i saw one in my yard . I didnt kill it it , i have kittens can it kill my babies id they get sting ?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08583225013021260952 Jonathan Johnson

    Just saw one for the first time today as well. Thought I could kill it by hitting it with a stick. Guess I see why it was able to run away. Memphis, TN.

  • Anonymous

    Just found one in Marmora NJ!!! Only the second I’ve ever seen in my life. First one was in Pittsville MD 16 years ago!!!! Thanks for the info.

  • Anonymous

    One in Bloomington IN today. First one I’ve ever seen in 45 years here, that I can recall.

  • Anonymous

    I think my mom got stung by one.

  • Anonymous

    One in Erial NJ …. Thank goodness the kids called me over to look and didn’t play with it – I put on such a production trying to kill the thing I doubt they will ever go near one again LOL … Thanks for this blog now I know what I’m dealing with …. Shoes for everyone in the yard from here on out !!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11396700594454145561 teresa

    Shamong nj..she is here too. All the males are swarning in my horse pen..atleast a hundred. I have seen atleast 5 females this month.. interesting didn’t knw they are wasps.. my daughter was stung last year but we just thought it was a bite. Will be cautioning all my friends with bee allerg.es

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11396700594454145561 teresa

    Shamong nj..she is here too. All the males are swarning in my horse pen..atleast a hundred. I have seen atleast 5 females this month.. interesting didn’t knw they are wasps.. my daughter was stung last year but we just thought it was a bite. Will be cautioning all my friends with bee allerg.es

  • Anonymous

    Been seeing these buggers here in Drummonds, TN since it got warm out. Kept wondering what they were! Thanks to this site I now know. I knew they were something to stay away from with their bright red color & their eagerness to live after several attempts to squish 1 on cement with the bottom of my shoe! Now we have several males that are flying about, but they are definitely not aggressive which is a good thing!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01957924180948202952 dmwilliams

    Just saw one while I was cleaning around my pool. We have a very “sandy” yard in Central VA. First time I have ever seen one. Trying to decide if I should have killed it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m in Kansas and have killed two in the past week. Both female. They are fast!!! The first one I stepped on four or five times before it died. The second one we caught in a ziplock bag and froze so we could get a better view. The stinger is very long no wounder they claim it hurts. Did not know they could sting or would have never caught it.

  • Anonymous

    I am in So.Illinois found one on the deck today caught it in a ziplock asked around no one knew what it was..Thanks for all the info. I have a older Great Dane that lays on deck sure hope can rid of these before gets to her!!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09315436422382414828 Joni Phoenix

      I’m also in southern. Illinois and just found a female on. It was pretty but now I know that I should avoid them or take a shovel to it! It was the first one I saw…I also have little kids! EXTERMINATER TIME

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09315436422382414828 Joni Phoenix

      I’m also in southern. Illinois and just found a female on. It was pretty but now I know that I should avoid them or take a shovel to it! It was the first one I saw…I also have little kids! EXTERMINATER TIME

  • Anonymous

    I live in Michigan…I just killed my second one in as many days. I had never seen anything like it before so I googled it and came across your blog. Thanks for the info. I guess due to our extremely warm temperatures this summer they must’ve thought it was a good idea to go farther nortth. They made a mistake coming in my yard though. I ground them into the pavement but really had to work at it.

  • Anonymous

    I am from Michigan also, and i went out to my garden and seen this bright and i do mean bright red wasp looking thing. It also had some black markings with black wings. I have looked all over the internet to identify this insect because i have never in my 35 years ever seen anything like it. This “ant” is the only thing that come close to what i seen….I need help, i have to get rid of it or i will be afraid to go in my garden and all my vegies will go to waste. How can i kill them when they are underground and in my garden with vegies i eat????

  • Anonymous

    I have lived in southern Missouri for 46 years and have never seen one of these till just a couple of months ago and have found, and killed, a couple in our yard and we have been having a much worse than normal wasp problem this year so that may explain it. Thanks for the interesting info.

  • Anonymous

    Just Caught One Here In Pasadena Tx. Ive Got Her In A Cup Alive. I Was Going To Contact The Local Jr College Thinking It Was A New Find. I Guess Not. The Only Thing I Can Think Of, Is We Recently Had Red Mulch Put In Our Yard & It Might Have Came From There.

  • Anonymous

    We have them in Nashville, Tennessee. When I see them I go the other way. lol

  • Vaughn

    We live in High Point North Carolina and we found one in the front yard two days ago. We put it in a 20oz soft drink bottle with the lid on it and its still alive! I think I’ll freeze it!

  • Anonymous

    My kids saw this outside of our camper while traveling. I picked it up, got great pics of it running around my arm. It didn’t sting me. Cool and beautiful creature!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve killed two in my driveway (Greenfield, TN), the past couple of days.

  • Anonymous

    I just found one in my back yard, not far from the pool. It scared me to death b/c I’ve never seen one before! I live in Gaffney, SC.

  • Anonymous

    I just caught one in Elkland, MO. It was really fast and hard to catch. But really cool looking. My husband made me let it go. Maybe I should have killed it.

    • Anonymous

      I have several in my yard just north of Fair Grove MO. First time I’ve noticed them in fifteen years. Long, dry summer probably responsible

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02752088985123966653 Asleepindelaware

    NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE on July 20, 2012 is when myself, who isn’t a Delawarean, and my neighbor, who is a Delawarean for 45yrs, saw one for the first time EVER! We were getting out of her car that she parked in the street and walking around to the rear of var to get the groceries out. I looked down and said “WHAT THE BLEEP IS THAT”, she didn’t know either. It was running quickly away from us as she was trying to gently step on it so we could ask her husband. Needless to say, it crawled between a decent size crack in the curb and we couldn’t find it. I am glad I tried an Internet search and found out what SHE was. We asked my neighbors husband and he has seen one before, 10 yrs ago. YIKES!

  • Anonymous

    Locust Grove, Georgia, Thanks for all the info I just captured one of these in the backyard when I put my little dog out. I read the info on this little varmit and it made me a little nervous because I am highly allergic to hornets, plus my dog likes to lay in the sunshine. I have seen these a few times on my front porch but never seen one this big. I am fixing to go treat the yard, thank you all for your post, got some great info here.

  • Anonymous

    My daughter and I saw one of these in the backyard. We cur it in half. It sounds like that what the right decicsion.

  • Anonymous

    We just caught the female (red and black). The male (blue and black) is still flying around. We are in Western Colorado. I’ve read every post on here and haven’t heard of one here before. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has seen one in Colorado.

  • Anonymous

    Found this in the backyard in Erial, NJ. GROSS!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10723271247858093987 chargers2009

    just saw one on our front porch and almost picked it up. i decided not too. thank god!

  • Anonymous

    Found two females and a few males in our yard – Mays Landing, NJ.

  • Anonymous

    In Memphis tn.First time today ever seeing one of these. scared the crap out of me. I said that’s one huge ant. although now I know that its actually a wasp. I will have a come to Jesus meeting with it next time.

  • Anonymous

    I live in Santa Barbara Ca. I was hiking up at the top of our mountain where there are huge sand stone rocks. I saw this beautiful very smart extremely fast (almost on crack, fast) I was amazed by this little critter. She was to fast to get a good picture of her. And she was not having any of me trying to check her out. I thought she was a kind of stink bug. She had a big butt and put it high up. I saw no stinger. Glad I was ballsy enough to pick her up!
    Thank you for the info. I will keep a good distance if I ever see one again.

  • Anonymous

    I saw a very large red and black ant with no hair in Chestertown, MD. It was about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long. Could this be a red velvet ant? I can’t seem to find any info on ants larger than 3/4 of an inch with no hair. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Just like some of the earlier comments, I live in Bloomington IN ( right next to Elletsville ). A week ago we found two seperate cicada killer nests in our back yard, now we have seen 3 female red velvet ants in the last two days. I have never seen either of these insects in all my 35 yrs living in very rural areas. I discovered what they both were from information on the internet. They both freak me out.

  • Anonymous

    Got one locked up in Nixa Missouri ..

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen 2 in the last 2 days in western CO

  • Anonymous

    I have been seeing them at our work place in Delaware the last 2 weeks. Boy are they fast, big and they have a long stinger. One of the guys caught one and the stinger came out. Stay away. Guess the warm hot weather is bringing them North.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, that’s her! We live in Stevensville, Maryland. Never saw one before but she was in the garden by our front door when I came home a bit ago. Not much of a bug person but have to admit that she really was kinda pretty with a fire engine red body and black stripe. I didn’t kill her but might have to revisit that idea if she hangs around. I’m not going to be too keen to work in that garden!

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/5f19faec-d5e1-11e1-ae1c-000bcdcb2996 Christine

    I live in Ocean County, New Jersey…. just came upon my encounter.. thought it was a giant ant….
    Are these dangerous to pets and humans

  • http://openid.aol.com/gonekickin1cic Christine

    I just read this from another site & wanted to share….. apparently they are on the lower northern east coast… ie NJ. & I did here it sqeak… OMG this is horrible.

    The Cow Killer is a solitary wasp and does not live in a colony or have a nest of her own. She is not aggressive and will try to escape if disturbed. Interestingly, she does have a voice. As a child, I would touch one with a twig just to hear the tiny squeak it made. These beautiful wasps are not numerous and cause no damage to plants. No chemical control is needed. Teach others about them, appreciate them, and leave them alone as they have a purpose in keeping the bee and wasp population in check. My advice: Simply defend yourself against a painful sting and wear shoes in the garden.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12587332688233280212 pcillit

    Rives, TN….just saw 5 big ones while watering my banana trees! You can’t kill them!

  • Anonymous

    Evansville, Indiana- My husband found one today while at a customers house, he’s a cable tech, said he stepped on it like 5 times on the ground and it just got back up and walked away. He kicked it over to the sidewalk and stomped it and it curled up, he picked it up with a pair of needle nosed pliers to look at it closer. It was still alive, he put it back on sidewalk and ground it into the concrete to finally kill it. Have never seen one of these before

  • Anonymous

    Live in Denton, MD and have seen at least five for the first time this year. We also have a problem with wasps building nests in the eves of our house and we have never had that problem before.

  • Anonymous

    Memphis…have one on a pool noodle now…also have smaller ones that have beige butts with black dots. they are gorgeous little critters! Never tried to kill one, though…in the house, might be different! nature is amazing, isn’t it?!!

  • Anonymous

    Kids killed one yesterday in our front yard and caught on in a ziplock bag in our kitchen this morning. my husband stepped on it like five times and he is a good sized guy. thought it was dead but then it started moving in the baggie. we live in southern Indiana.

  • Anonymous

    Hello. This is Dave from Delhi Township in Cincinnati, Ohio. Found a female red velvet ant in my back yard next to my deck. Almost stepped on it, but didn’t know what it was. I’ve never seen one before. Started reading about them and wow was I surprised to see one in this part of the country. Bad ass looking insect. Time to keep a look out for additional ones. Thanks for the info about them.

  • Anonymous

    Ashland City, TN- growing up outside of Nashville I would see the females once or twice a summer. Was told they were deadly as a child. This year there has been over a dozen spotted in the last month at the house – all were smashed and split. Found one in the den tonight and decided to see if others are spotting more than normal. Perhaps the weather is contributing. Needless to say- relieved to read that they are not poisonous with four kids running around!

  • Anonymous

    Oh you tough guys/gala stop killing these beautiful insects, they are a threat to no one

  • Anonymous

    Found one in Salem, NJ running across the grass. Grew up here, and this was first time ever seen or heard of them.

  • Anonymous

    I live in Monroe, Louisiana. I saw one yesterday. but couldn’t catch it. Then this morning, my friend saw another and killed it. I stepped out a few minutes later, to find ANOTHER ONE!! i separted it into sections with a stick and it was still going. It was making a noise!! Didn’t know it was that harmful!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02167920517491472190 Slim Chic

    I seen one yesterday in the yard in Shelby N.C my baby girl almost stepped on it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02167920517491472190 Slim Chic

    I seen one yesterday in the yard in Shelby N.C my baby girl almost stepped on it.

  • kelstan

    It’s not that we’re trying to be tough guys/gals. We are just protecting our loved ones, especially the little ones. And even our animals.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the info. We’ve been seeing these on the job site in Clinto Illinois, Guessing maybe they came on on some equipment or parts on the tank we’re building. I smacked it with a gloved hand several times and didnt even slow it down. Good to know they bite.

    • Anonymous

      I saw one there too.!! Running through the rocks at Clinton Power Station. First I’ve ever seen

    • Anonymous

      I’ve lived here all my life too. Briefed on leaving them alone :~\

  • Anonymous

    I live in baltimore, MD…in a town called middle river and I just saw one crawling around on my front porch. I had no idea what it was so like everyone else I jumped on google to find out…thanks for the info..this thing scared the crap out of me. Never seen anything like it and I tried taking a picture and a video but it was way too fast. The only thing that is making me think it is something else is that I didn’t see any hair. Thanks again for the info though. Big help

  • Anonymous

    I live in soufhern Ohio and just had my first encounter with one of these. I found it running along side my pool. Finally was able to kill it after several attempts. Then came in and googled it and found your forum thanks for all your information.

  • Anonymous

    Just saw one this morning at Norris Lake near L Folkette, TN.

  • Anonymous

    Evansville, IN – Have killed 3 of them in my yard in the last week. Actually haven’t seen them here in lots of years.

  • Anonymous

    Just saw one for the first time ever in Danville, IL. A red and black female. Very neat looking. Thanks for all the stories and info.

  • Anonymous

    Saw one on a recent trip South Carolina first time ever seeing one..got a little bit of it running around on. camera

  • Anonymous

    found a femaleorange and black in seks yesterday, took 5 stomps of a boot and no less than another 5 solid thumps from a 2×4 to kill it. deathly allergic to wasps

  • Anonymous

    Ive lived in Indiana my whole life (30 yrs) and never seen one till today and actually seen two on my porch. Verry hard to kill! Aurora IN.

  • Anonymous

    Today I visited the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Grasonville that is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. While there I saw a female. She was running back and forth on a boardwalk that crosses a salt marsh. Thanks to this site I was able to identify her as a Red Velvet “Ant” Wasp.

  • Anonymous

    I saw oneyesterday on my front porch in southern maryland and it took me approx 10 wacks with myc shoe but i think i finally killed it. We thought i ff was an ant un til we looked online. They r so strong she would t die scarry

  • Anonymous

    I just saw one of these today on my front walk (fredericksburg Virginia). My daughter noticed it and I went to look at it. I tried to kill it…I finally killed it in the used but it was hard. I’ve never seen one before. They are clearing the lot next to us to build a house…I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I really hope I don’t see any more!

  • Anonymous

    I had my first ever encounter with the critter in Loganville, GA. Its bright color and fast movement surprised me! I was barefooted too! Yikes. But I did manage to get a couple of pictures before it hurried off into the grass.

  • Anonymous

    Add Oklahoma to the list! We have found 2 in the last couple of weeks on the back porch near our pool, too. Very scary-looking….hope the kids don’t get stung by these suckers….we already have enough winged-stinger-creatures around!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02417308965771560111 james w. lockard
  • Anonymous

    Sure seems like sightings are escalating. They are unusual beautiful creatures. Seen one twice now in pool area in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. It was 106 degrees today and this little gal seemed to be trying very hard to squeeze through the molding around our back door to get into the air conditioning. The RED looks scary…beautiful from a distance. Glad they don’t have wings. I can move faster than them even if I am almost 60!

  • Anonymous

    Add Kentucky to the list also. Was mowing yard two day’s ago, started to get off the lawn mower,looked down and there was this beutiful bright red ant (or so I thought)with black stripes. Never had seen one in all my 54 yrs. Glad I wasn’t barefooted !!!

  • Anonymous

    Sidell Illinois (East Central part of the state) has had three sightings this past week and the local weekly newspaper was researching to find out about this insect and came across this sight so there will be a story in this week’s issue about this unusual insect which seems to new to this part of the state.

  • Anonymous

    Yes! Saw one here in Evansville, Ind., too. I am 43 and have never seen one of these in my lifetime — looked like something you would see in the tropics. I must say, however, that it was likely easier yo spot, as we have had severe drought which has the grass brown and short, making this insect more visible. Oh, it’s also been in the 100s here for several weeks in July.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this blog. I tried taking a pic of this fairly long red an black “ant” at my work in Frankfort, Ky.. Of course the little critter was faster than my camera so I decide to google red and black insects and found this. Glad to know what it is and hopefully if I see another one I’ll be ready to snap some pics. Must be the heat bringing them out cause in 43 yrs of being an insect watcher this is my first. I’ve also noticed a ton of Robber Flies this year…

  • Anonymous

    Just Saw my first one today in Central Conn.

  • Anonymous

    considering that they crawl on the ground and are so easily seen, I see no real reason to kill this beautiful insect. especially when you consider that they lay their eggs in the nest of other bees… like say yellow jackets and the egg feeds on the larva found there. I think they may do us more good than harm. Just thought I would throw that out there for those who are allergic to bee stings. I would personally much rather deal w/ this wasp than deal w/ the bees that it kills.

  • Anonymous

    My friend just found two in atco NJ!

  • Anonymous

    I have lived in East Tennessee all my life (50 yrs) and I saw my first Red Velvet ant yesterday…had never seen anything like it so I caught it in a glass jar. Sure am glad I decided not to touch it! Isn’t it strange that so many people have seen their first one this past year? Do you think the mild winters have anything to do with it? Didn’t want to kill it so I put it into my garbage and the garbage truck took it away a while later. Maybe it can live a long happy life at the dump…not in my yard!

  • Anonymous

    Just found one outside in my backyard in Indianapolis, IN.

  • Anonymous

    Saw my first one today near Roanoke VA. A pretty female running around in the newly tilled part of the garden. My son and I thought it was a large ant and luckily new that red on black is natures warning when it comes to insects. We didn’t kill it hopefully, she’ll stay in the garden and not bother us.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11086449256538447469 Curious golfer

    Playing golf near Front Royal, Va and saw one for the first time ever. Didn’t know what it was until a friend of mine caught me messing with it. I stopped once he called.it a cow killer and smashed it into the dirt. But before that I was fooled by its beauty.

  • Anonymous

    Just found one in virgilina virginia crawling around in the front yard it was neat looking and figured I would find out what we were looking at

  • Anonymous

    Another for Ky we are just south of Louisville. My husband found one near our childrens pool. We had never seen anything like it, thanks for the ID. Another reason to keep shoes on the kids even just going back and forth to the pool.

  • Anonymous

    Have seen several in last few years in western ky. Thought they were some type of ant.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I just found one of these female creatures. I was very cautious. Being the bright color. I found a jar to capture it. (VERY CAREFULLY) I instantly went to the web for identification. I have never seen anything like this. Very cool. It was hard to get in the jar. Kept running away.

  • Anonymous

    I had two to appear in my driveway/garage in Clinton, Hickman County, KY. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Glad to find out they aren’t poisonous, but they sure looked like large red velvet ants. I’d never have guessed they were actually wasps. Glad to find this info on them. I feel better knowing what they are. Must have been brought to the USA from abroad; like I think a lot of things do. They are hard to kill. I stepped on them several times and when I’d take my foot off them, they’d take off again…persistent little dudes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11715868991471401451 ahjohnson

    I’ve seen at least three around my backyard in Terre Haute, IN this past month. Makes sense because we have 4 very determined cicada killers digging nests along and under our privacy fence. Have been trying to deter them but am loosing the battle. Will likely leave them be and let nature take it’s course.

  • Anonymous

    just found one here in maysville ky on 8/8/2012 at 3:20 pm now the real question is the one i found a scout or a solider it looks dead on the last pic with the black strip on its back

  • Anonymous

    Son just got stung by one. Never seen ones of these before in Brazil, Indiana. Thanks for the information.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07782993710908646461 joe dawes

    we have them here around the Paducah Kentucky area. I just had to look up and see what they are. isn’t the Internet great.

  • Anonymous

    Just found a red and black female in the yard in Bement, Illinois. Interesting creatures, but I sure wouldn’t want to end up on the receiving end of one of their stings!

  • Anonymous

    Once just bit me while mowing. It is true. It hurts very badly.

  • Anonymous

    I was walking my dog and from some reason he was trying to chase something I couldn’t see. He damn near choked himself. When I saw what it was I was moving so fast I forgot I had him. This would be the 2nd time I’ve seen one. Now I know what it is. My husband thought I was crazy and thought we were running from a ladybug. Not crazy here in Richmond, VA.

  • Anonymous

    Just got one to craw into a water bottle so I could look it up, and sure never though it was a wasp. seen about 10 – 15 in my life out on the back path in the field but never in the yard. This is after a bumble bee pick me to chase down and sting–this also never has happen, and I have bees all over the place

  • Anonymous

    Observed 1″ female in my yard today.
    Concord, NC

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14578765157526079882 RachelH

    We live in Western Virginia (near Harrisonburg) and have seen two in our yard, one of which we have kept as a “pet” for 3 weeks now. I read that they have been seen in eastern VA for 3 or 4 years, but no one I have spoken to here had seen one before.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04825471070899347875 Dutch Nichols

    They seem to be more active now than in past years. spotted one for the first time in 36 years in atlanta, GA. Wonder if colony collapse disorder among the bee populations is leading to their recent activity?

    • Allacra

      As far as I know, they have no predators. They lay their eggs in ground wasp larvae. So they actually help keep down the population of ground wasps (I guess that would be yellow jackets?).

  • Anonymous

    Two recently in Aldie, VA. That is Northern Virgina.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05093914490998346558 any person

    I’m from NJ, and have seen 2 in 2 days, this thing is massive for a little thing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05093914490998346558 any person

    I’m from NJ, and have seen 2 in 2 days, this thing is massive for a little thing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05093914490998346558 any person

    I’m from NJ, and have seen 2 in 2 days, this thing is massive for a little thing.

  • Anonymous

    Here in Knoxville TN, just found one like in the third pic. We have a river bordering our back yard and she was on the boat dock. She is now headed south on the river towards Chattanooga (I hope).

    Great site and comments btw.

    • Anonymous

      I also live in Knoxville and saw my first one yesterday on the porch.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know about them not living in colonies. I’d never seen one until camping this weekend at Harmonie State Park in So. Indiana. Between the 4 of us we saw at least 6 at our campsite and the adjacent playground. The park director said a girl was still limping a week after being bitten by one!

  • Anonymous

    Saw one today in Richmond Va. Sorry I didn’t kill it. Know better next time.

    • Allacra

      You do not need to kill it…it’s not going to attack you.

  • [email protected]

    Saw one today, she was beautiful and I went to get my camera to get a picture but that quickly she was gone. Never seen one before and I have lived in many states. I live in Earleville Maryland now and that is where I saw it. Thanks for the info. I will be alert to them but not kill them, but then that is just me. I appreciate the beauty of them. I look forward to seeing another.

  • Anonymous

    Me n my dad were outside when we saw One of these… My cat decided to chase it so we caught it.. Not knowing what it was we took pictures n stuff…we jumped n stepped on it n It wouldn’t die… We eventually killed it…we think…so are these poisonious in any way If I do not have allergys?

  • Anonymous

    Stevensville on the Eastern Shore of Maryland-I saw a few last year-and now they are back again this year…glad I know now that it’s really a wasp-terribly allergic to bees and wasps-so I will be keeping my distance-they are very quick and always look like they are in a hurry to do something-but they are kind of neat looking..I also thought they were just GIANT ants..your blog is Great by the way!!

  • Anonymous

    Just caught me a female red here in Mew Plymouth Idaho. I have never seen one of these and I have lived in several states. Thanks for the info.

  • Anonymous

    Killed two this week here in Southeastern Virginia. Never seen them before so we looked it up. Everyone is correct, they are not easy to kill and they do make a squeaky noise. YIKES

  • Anonymous

    My kids caught one in a cup that our puppy was chasing today in Branson, MO b/c they did not know what it was and did not want n e one to get hurt. So I came and googled to find out thanks for the info and I love your blog and all the info Thank you

  • Ralph

    Add Eads, TN to the list of sitings. (Memphis). Seen many this summer.

  • Anonymous

    Well there here in Prince George County, Virginia too!!!Saw the Red Velvet the day before yesterday, I guess it would scsre just about anyone, when you see one for the first time. I’m glad that they aren’t endangered.

  • Anonymous

    we just saw 2 of these creatures on my front step, I have never seen or heard of them before and I have lived here on the eastern shore of Maryland all of my life.One of them looked like she was trying to get through the glass door to get to the cat.

  • Anonymous

    We live in a small town in Virginia called Saltville, got to see one of these at our store wasn’t sure what it was until I google it and found out what it could do, scary I wish now I would of killed it! Does anyone have a picture or where I can go and see the male? If I see this little lady again, she will be cut in half, sorry little lady but I have grandchildren!!

    • Allacra

      Tell your grandchildren not to touch insects.

  • Tiffany

    I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, about and hour and 15 mins outside of Denver. I have NEVER seen one of these in my 26 years of living in CO and almost 20 yrs in the mountains until this morning. I took my dog out and suddenly saw a female crawling around the ground. I thought it looked like a red furry bee without wings, and low and behold, that’s almost what it is! Super cool to see this wasp, and I will definitely be looking for them again as it hid in some dense grass patches before I could get a pic.
    If there was any doubt in my mind about global weather patterns changing there isn’t anymore. I have seen several strange bugs that I have never seen before this year, all in my yard. One night I found a glow worm that shone as bright as a neon green light stick, just hanging out in the grass at almost midnight. I couldn’t figure out what the little speck of light was, it was bright and about 50 feet away on the side of the mtn. I hiked over there and found what looked like a meal worm with a super bright glowing head. We have also had lots of ticks, which we have never had before – had to get tick medication for my puppy for the first time. Even the vet said there’s been bunches of tick infestations this year, but never had a problem with them for the 30+ years of business before now.
    Anyway, thank you so much for posting this information, it can be really hard trying to find out what specific bugs are if you don’t already know their names, I will definitely be bookmarking you so I can keep coming back 😉

  • Anonymous

    Just saw one crawling across my livingroom floor behind my two kids, my husband caught it and flushed it down the drain, now that I read this…. She make be back for revenge, lol. Egg harbor city, nj

  • Anonymous

    I live in Knoxville, TN I saw my first one yesterday on my porch. A friends grandson had told us about them but have never seen one. I about died when I saw it come up on the porch where I always sit.

  • Anonymous

    Jenks, Oklahoma…just southwest of Tulsa. Saw this for first time near my front walkway. Lived in Oklahoma all my life and have never seen one! Looked up giant black and red and google filled in fuzzy ant, lol. We live on seven acres and have lots of critters who live here with us. Glad to be able to show my kiddos do they can steer clear. We won’t be killing any since I’m sure they have a job to do in the big picture. Thanks for the blog. Very interesting !

  • Anonymous

    Add Nevada Texas to the list as well. I have never seen such a thing. It was actually very pretty. Bright red velvety little creature but knew to stay away from it. Let’s just say red means stop…,, right!!!

  • Anonymous

    Just saw one come across my driveway in Bristow, VA and it was making a beeline for the garage. Wasn’t sure what it was but I didn’t want it in the house so I was able to step on it and kill it. Then I came here and found out what it was. Good thing I did since I am allergic to wasps and bee stings. I will have to make sure my little one doesn’t run around without shoes in the yard. It is a beautiful creature though and I would have left it alone if it was heading the other way or far enough from the house.

  • Anonymous

    Have just noticed this interesting insect here in Dillon, S.C. the past couple of days. Never seen one before now. Just curious why they are so abundant.

  • Anonymous

    We have these in N.KY. They are very hard to kill by just stepping on them on gravel or grass. I’ve never seen anything like it.
    Ziggy

  • Anonymous

    I live in O’Fallon Ill.I saw one last week on my patio and didn’t think anything of it. I saw one again this morning in my yard,I hope it was the same one. Jeff

  • Joann

    We have a ton of these in Remington, VA. My kitten was trying to catch one and it about gave me a heart attack. Does anyone know the effect they have on animals, for instance, I have horses, ducks, dogs and cats. I have also seen bright green ones here any information on these?

  • Anonymous

    I live is SC and have seen about 6 of these
    ants this summer. The funny thing is, the
    male has wings and flies. I saw one in flight
    and have killed several in my yard. I have
    grandkids and although they are unique I
    don’t want them to get stung. The only way
    I’ve killed them is cut them in half. I sprayed bug killer on one and it took forever
    to die. I would think young children would
    try to pick it up or a pet to catch it so BEWare OF THEM

  • Anonymous

    Saw one in Williamsburg, VA. Left it alone, no reason to kill it.

  • Anonymous

    found one in south eastern indiana, right on the ohio border. bugs are fast!

  • Anonymous

    My son is doing a bug collection for 7th grade science. We are from Syracuse NY and spent a week in Orlando. Thought it would be cool to have him collect a bug (or try to!) At each states welcome area along the way. Anyhow we caught 2 of these, I am presuming are females due to the lack of wings, at the South Carolina welcome center. 1 is small, but the other is HUGE! I also thought they were ants at first until my wife found this page. Thanks for the info!

  • Anonymous

    from Eliz. City, NC
    Have never seen this creature in all my 65+ years. Found 1 in my back yard last week, and 1 in my front yard today.
    Does the sting of this wasp leave a black necrotic spot in the center like the brown recluse spider? Got a really nasty sting from something unseen while mowing around trees in the front yard. Felt like a “switch” hitting my arm.

  • Anonymous

    I found one yesterday on my back porch. Tried to step on it in flip flops. Glad I did
    not catch her. Memphis, Indiana

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15923347718227783730 BookPusher

    Just had a student help me squash one in the high school library in Ashland, MO. They ARE hard to kill. One student told me he thought it was a fire ant so we thought we probably should take care of it. I’m glad we finished her off.

  • Anonymous

    seen one yesterday here in va in my yard ,never seen one in my 59 years of life,,pretty

  • Anonymous

    My husband just saw one in our front yard when cutting grass. Kings Mountain, NC

  • Anonymous

    Found one in seaville NJ, awesome, ran fast but I got a good photo,

  • Anonymous

    just saw one for the first time in my life in central VA. I said to my self, “geez, that ant is the color of red velvet”. Then I came in the house and found your site!

  • Anonymous

    Just saw my first one ever this morning on my patio in northern VA. Very pretty but a little scary! Definitely looks like red velvet and moved VERY quickly. Not knowing what it was and because I have a dog that is outside a lot, I stepped on it. It took several good stomps to kill it.

  • Anonymous

    Petersburg, WV. I have an infestation. There are countless numbers of them and for days I tried stepping on/burning/drowning them, basically anything I could think of. I have finally discovered their weakness and I am thinning them down now. It’s a .22 Caliber pistol with ratshot. Expensive but fun and effective.

  • Anonymous

    I have seen two red velvets in my yard in Elkton, MD. Glad to know what they are but they are not welcome in my yard. This has been a terrible year for bees, wasps and yellow jackets of all kinds.

    • Allacra

      If you have yellow jacket problems, you WANT to have red velvet ants. They lay their eggs in the larva of ground wasps. So, they are essentially reducing the yellow jacket population.

  • Anonymous

    I found one of them here in my front yard. I live in Missouri.

  • Anonymous

    Found one last week on my back porch. Saw it again today (hopefully the same one!!!) next time I see it may be the last!! Looks like they’re moving in and up because I’m in central Illinois (Decatur). My daughters sand box is on the back porch. Should I be concerned that they could possibly be in the sand?

  • Anonymous

    Higginsville, MO. I have seen at least 4 or 5 every summer for the last 3 years. They really give me the Heebie Jeebies. I had no clue they are wasps. This have been a very helpful website. Thank you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07967740455363651077 Wayne Rogers

    Saw my first one ever today while visiting Fort Caroline National Monument in Jacksonville, Fl. My wife said she found one in our yard at Ft Stewart, Ga. Beautiful looking bug.

  • Anonymous

    I have seen 5 of theese in the past week. 4 in the yard and one on the driveway. First time in my life as well. live in Bright, Indiana

  • Anonymous

    I live in Georgetown, Indiana about 20 minutes west of Louisville, Ky. I always see these mainly running across my asphalt driveway and had always wondered what they were. I had cought them numerous times in a baby food jar and watched them for a few hours then turned them loose. My children especially think they are pretty but I have warned them not to touch.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16506913418772239857 Sherri Miller

    Here in Albemarle N.C. also.Seen one several weeks back they seem to like dark areas.Today I caught one as I had never seen one before.This sight is great just wish someone knew what they eat ,are they destructive,will they harm our pets?

  • Anonymous

    I have found only one of these little guys the past 4-7 years in Southern Alberta Canada.

  • Anonymous

    Just saw our first in Dickson, TN about three weeks ago, but since that time we’ve seen two more and killed all of by stepping on them and grinding and twisting down on them. Does anyone have any concrete info on why they are suddenly here in these numbers?? Mild winters; armadillo invasion; hay brought in from other areas due to drought?

    • Allacra

      Do not kill them. Let them carry on with their business. They will not attack you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03858922161154021195 Anonymous

    Please don’t kill this creature. Think about it. It needs the eggs of yellow jackets and other ground nesting bees for food for its own larvae to survive. As such, it wouldn’t be around in your yard unless THOSE were around. It is natures way of controlling those pests!!.

    • Allacra

      amen!

    • john

      Kill them when you see them, don’t want one to sting your kids.

      • Claudette Miller

        My 5 year old grandson got bit two times on his inter bye need to know what to do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00754547463398859544 PinkFloydMom

    I’d never seen such a thing in my life! …until today! A playdate at a local park found a few of us moms …I mean “our kids” … catching what we thought to be a NEW, mysterious creature! lol …glad to see it isn’t some deadly, “botfly-esque” insect carried back from a foreign country – which, embarrassingly enough, is actually what we had concluded. I must say the research has been interesting!! Forest, Virginia : you never cease to amaze me!! =)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01509744198516888727 Bonnie

    Caught a beautiful female in UT. It squeaked loudly like a rubber ducky squeak toy when we disturbed it with the edge of a paper.It squeaks loudly when blown upon. It is amazing the variety of patterns and colors. Second one this week; the first all orange, and smaller. This one is the largest I’ve ever seen with a black tapering base to the fuzzy orange-red abdomen. It is definitely not aggressive, (unlike the camel spiders)and just tried to stay out of the way, making picture taking difficult. We were glad to know it wasn’t poisonous. I saw these many times as I growing up– through several western states. I was never harmed, and my children love to see them. We are just careful to keep a respectful distance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03142967137437553644 Double-D

    Im pretty sure they smoke camel non-filters, and wield switchblade knifes. These bugs are bad-azz little dudes. Kudos to the guy who uses a .22 on them… AWESOME!! sounds like daddy’s got a good reason for a new gun for christmass.

  • AKAPhotoArt

    When I was about 8, I touched one of these velvet ants–well, because it was fuzzy and red and cool looking. Wow! What a shock. Yes, I’m a guy.

  • Daniel Tant

    I lived in Zuni, VA and as a kid I use to play with these guys all the time they are some cool looking bugs never knew they were wasp tho!?!?

  • nancysongwriter

    Caught one today near Palm Springs…just moved here last year, we always lived in cooler places in So Cal before, and have never seen one of these beautiful fuzzy scarey bugs!!

    Thanks for info…I threw it over the fence since we do have wasps and a few too may bees..so I guess nature sent her to help out.

    I rarely kill anything ( except rattlers and black widows) I always talk to a spider if uncertain…roll over and show me if you are a black widow or not..Yes they do and I spare the non red hour-glassed bellied ones..just sayin’

  • Vi

    I heard they were called cow-killers because cows sometimes swallowed them by accident and suffocated from the horrible throat-stings. o_o

    They’re the only wasps I think are pretty, though.

  • Stronzy

    Just saw one in Pasadena, CA…

  • Rebecca

    Saw one in Ridgeville, SC at the state park! Scary!

  • Jennifer Fox

    I saw one of these yesterday . I was unloading car turned around to go in and there on the ground was something I’d never in my life seen before . I at first thought wow What is that? a new creature , lol . It was moving so fast though just a going across driveway , well in the freak moment I thought well ill just step on it n Smush it , had sandals on at that , well stepped on and it didn’t kill it. I had my hands full of stuff and looked down and was like you have to be kidding me I stepped on that bug . Well I stepped again it was like a sponge – n to note I’m not tiny ( medium ) sized lady . I stepped again and again , and finally decided to step and drag down . I looked to see if this had killed it , well it had separated it for sure but part of it was still moving I couldn’t believe it ! So today after speaking to family about someone mentioned it and I decided to look and sure enough thanks to your pictures and notes – I realize I’m glad I didn’t get stung for sure . Thanks for your page . This was in Travelers Rest , S.C.

    • Allacra

      Don’t kill them….let them carry on. They’re not going to attack you.

  • Jennifer Fox

    Had one running across the driveway do live in a wooded area pool next door but do have lots of wasps under deck – agin as I’ve read and had already discovered at first to my surprise after stomping a few ones it wouldn’t die I was like what the heck n it is fast ! I wish I wouldn’t have now I read this though I don’t want anyone stung – I knew if never seen one but was in a hurry n didn’t want it to get away – I stomped again n dragged my foot across pavent – then looked – well the head part was still moving – I wish now I wouldn’t have killed . I don’t see hardley anyone from South Carolina – I live in Travelers Rest .

  • Robert

    This bugger caused quite a stir tonight. I have never seen one before or heard of them. I live in Albuquerque, NM where we get some other odd desert critters, but this was a new one. It was crawling up my sisters leg while we were sitting on the couch watching TV. I took pictures and posted it on various FB sites – finally a friend identified it. I tried whacking it with a shoe numerous time, but it kept going and going. Any recommendations to prevent future ones in or out around the house? Thanks

    • Allacra

      I do not think you should have a problem with them coming in the house. That was probably a rare occurrence. The best thing to do is capture it with a cup or something, then set it free. There are not a lot of this type of insect anyway. They are not like ant and bee populations.

  • Chris

    Holy cow alright! I just saw one in Mt Pleasant, SC. It was moving so fast I couldn’t even take picture. I figured it was not nice so I freaked when I thought it crawled up my stroller. Then I saw it so far away. So fast! I have never seen one before. Something that pretty can’t be nice! Lol

  • BUD

    I saw one of these red & black bugs in my yard in Fayetteville n. c. I was playing with it. I’ll play with any animal, bug, snake, etc. It didn’t bite me. Then I put it back on it’s merry little way.

  • Allie

    Just saw one of these scurry across the patio headed for the tomato plants. Never seen one in my whole life and we spend a lot of time outdoors! Decided to look it up and found that it was a “red velvet ant”. Seems pretty scary to me. Now knowing what I know, I wish I would have killed it. We live in Bargersville, IN, about 15 miles south of Indianapolis.

    • Allacra

      You don’t need to kill it. There are not tons of them like other bees or ants anyway. The best thing to do is to let them go on their merry way…

  • Jac

    Caught one today at work. Thought it was an ant and was surprised to find out it really is a wasp. Good thing i didn’t just pick it up :)
    Google’d it then let it go in the field outside. I have to say in reading some of the comments above it is an impressive creature.
    Oyea, Sacramento Ca is where I am.

  • Dominic

    just saw one of these critters in my driveway, strange thing is that I’m in N.J. since when do we have a tropical “ant” Wasp up here kinda freaked out. Also it took me 5 stomps to kill this beast , and im not a small guy ,my wife felt the vibrations of my stomps on our cement driveway. There tough little creatures that can hurt, I’m happy my daughter didd’nt come across this thing and get stung.

    • Allacra

      They are not going to seek you out to sting you. The best thing to do is let the velvet ant to carry on with its business and not bother it.

  • just me

    I’ve seen these for 60 over years in North West Louisiana. Today while watching my bee hive one just about an inch long crawled up the leg of the hive stand and tried to enter the hive. One bee confronted the thing and threw it onto the ground. In short order ole red velvet found a new direction to go. The bee was about a third the size of the wasp. Go Bees ! lol

  • Heather Blanco

    My dad just found and caught 1 here in North Delaware.
    Beautiful bug but definitely glad I read up on them.
    He almost picked it up with his bare hands.

  • Heather

    Wow, a wasp! Learn something new every day! I have spotted several of these running around and had to do some research. I live in NE Texas (July).

  • BlueEyedBaybe

    Just found one in Mountain Home Arkansas.. Little buggar was fast and wasn’t phased by my Ortho Home Defense bug spray!

  • Alex Darabi

    I saw one of these today crawling on a large rock. I was going to take a picture but it was moving pretty fast and got away. I haven’t seen one until today. Are they supposed to be in north florida? (thats where I saw it)

  • Charity High Law

    Just saw one of these things crawling across my deck while i was working from home. Freaked me out!!!! He crawled in a crack between the boards on my deck. Now that I’ve read about it, I’m scared to let my feet touch the deck!!! LOL When I have to get up to go into the house, I make sure to walk ON the boards and not let my feet touch the cracks.

    • Charity High Law

      Oh, I’m in Tennessee just north of Nashville. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one around my home.

      • Allacra

        I’m in TN and have seen them all my life. They are nothing to be afraid of. They will not attack you or seek you out. If anything, they will run from you or just go about their normal business.

        • Lorrie Douglass

          I’m in West TN, just outside of Memphis. I found my first one ever today, which lead me here to see what it was and if it would be dangerous to any of my 6 dogs. Seems like it isn’t a danger unless you step on it… which will probably break me from going outside barefoot anymore! I have it in a mason jar sitting on the grill. I will be letting it go before the night is over. Seems as she is more beneficial to the ecosystem than she is a danger… but still, she is kinda scary looking!

  • BettyBronco

    just saw one in the front yard here in Alexandria, La. I see one every few years or so. this is the smallest so far and it is enormous next to the “fire ants” we normally have. from the posts it seems these guys are roaming all across the continent.

  • Lexi Lamb

    Just killed one in Evanston, WY, crawling on a blanket in my garage. It swims.

    • Aubree Smith

      We just found one out here in lyman Wyoming

  • Mary June

    just saw one in Newburgh Indiana Beautiful Creature

    • Patricia Harris

      I just saw one in my yard in Boonville Indiana
      looks creepy..pretty..but..lol

    • Schnauzer Girl

      I live in Kentucky and I have them in my yard, they are beautiful to look at. What most people don’t understand about them is that they are not aggressive and will not bother you, in fact will go out of their way to avoid you if they can. As well as they do serve a purpose, they help control the population of the wasps that are aggressive such as the Red Wasp and Yellow Jackets, etc. that are aggressive and will attack us without even being provoked.

  • silversnow53

    I live in Lafayette, LA and my grandkids just spotted one as we left my apartment. It scared all of us. We had to look it up to see what it was.

  • goodie22

    R U Kidding me? I’ve found at least a dozen so far this summer on property in Valley Srings,Ca, they r very hard to kill by stepping on them, they need a good hard STOMP

  • Lucy Stacy

    I just walked out on my porch in eastern Kentucky and got stung by one. My hand’s swelling, but otherwise I feel okay. I typically don’t have much reaction to stings at all. I wound up here when looking up to see exactly what kind of bug had stung me.

  • Shelli Foster Bagwell

    Saw my first one yesterday. Really cool to watch. They are very fast. What I found interesting was that it was not facing me, but when I moved, its abdomen moved with me….like it had eyes in the back of its body. Swore it was an ant! Kinda glad it’s not because that would mean many, many more just like it.

  • Firefighter Mom

    I found one yesterday in my pool in Huntingtown Md. got it out and set it free.

  • Nicole Anderson

    my son just got one in a pop bottle in Georgetown Illinois. glad I came home and looked it up to see what it was.

  • Jolie Marie Tibbett

    We have seen these in our yard several times!! Always thought it was an ant. Glad to know its a wasp as I am highly allergic to wasp

  • Brooke Brackett

    I found one of these at our towns get this PLAYGROUND in the basketball court.I was shocked. Casar, NC. It made a racket too.

  • Nikki

    I live in Brazil Indiana and I have seen several in my yard and near my horses but somehow one got in my shirt and bit my stomach i have 2 big red welts the size of quarters and it hurts realy realy bad

    • Aron

      Ouchies!

  • Badgerwoman

    So many comments about killing them. Why? Just leave them be. They aren’t that numerous and help control the real pests, like yellowjackets. Sure they sting, but along of things sting. No need for a killing spree.

  • Gavinsnanna

    Good Grief, no do not let them be, kill them. THEY HURT

  • krjgnek

    Saw one in Arabia State Park in the Atlanta GA suburbs.

  • Barbara nature lady

    fascinating and beautiful! I just saw one of these in my yard in Brookhaven Long Island New York. I thought it was a giant fuzzy red and black ant running really fast and trying to hide. I did get a photo of it and when I googled Giant red and black ant I found out that it’s really a female wasp! I believe I read somewhere that they dig holes in the ground to lay their eggs in?I’m not going to disturb her or harm her. I’m going to keep an eye out and hope to see her again. I will be careful not to step on her..are they native to the eastern United States?interesting seeing other peoples comments :-)

  • Michele

    I live in Ashboro NC and i saw one in our ditch while walking my dogs i actually thought it was cool like all the animals down here.

  • Kendall Bassett

    I was in an area where 100 – 150 of these were coming out of holes in the ground and swarming, most had wings, and they were not aggressive. I walked right through the swarm and stopped to look at them I probably stepped on 10 in the process, they were everywhere. I had seen these before but after seeing that many I had to get online to see what they are. This was in Central Wyoming.

  • Carolyn Warvel

    I just found two of these near a wash in Henderson, NV near Las Vegas. I’ve been here 13 years and this is the first time I’ve seen one.

  • Marilyn Talbot

    We live in eastern North Carolina but lived many years near the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. I saw lots of strange creatures there but never anything like this huge red fuzzy bug with the black stripe. I just saw one in the pine straw near my azalea bushes. It seemed to avoid even my shadow and went on its way so I left it alone. I am going to keep looking for more of them.

  • Guest

    Just killed one today . By accident. In il. Right across the river from st.louis mo. Pretty crazy looking . Very pretty/ scary. See why a bird woulndnt eat it. Yikes