Sunday, August 18, 2013

The "Cow Killer" Velvet Ant

This is the Velvet Ant, aka the "Cow Killer Ant."  We found a few of these in the field today.  Apparently, they like sandy soil. They are a type of wingless wasp. They generally feed off of the larva of ground bees. They have exoskeletons that are so hard they almost cannot be cracked with a display pin. 
I am told I would rather be shot with a .22 than be stung by one of these little buggers.
Don Manley, a professor emeritus of entomology at Clemson University who has studied the insects, recalls his run-in with Dasymutilla sp. as the worst sting of his career:
I had heard from others who had been stung by a velvet ant that ‘it hurt so bad for about twenty to thirty minutes that I just wanted to die and get it over with’ … I had worked with [velvet ants] for over twenty years before I was finally stung.  I concur with the description. I have not been stung by a velvet ant since — I will not be stung by a velvet ant again.

The good news
is that the dogs did not get stung and nether did we.  I did get a picture with my iPhone, however!


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