Velvet Ant – Identifying

Q: On Saturday I noticed a large red bug crawling across my lawn. It looked like an ant but I think it was a wasp without wings. It walked at a funny angle with the rear legs higher than the front and very fast for an insect. It was bright red with a black line across the abdomen-it must have been about 1/2 inch long.

A: Theresa Schrum replies: “Did the insect have a red velvety appearance?

If so, what you saw was commonly called the red velvet ant. However, you are very astute as it’s not an ant at all, but a wingless wasp and yes they do sting as evidenced by the story below.”

Red Velvet Ant

Story: I saw one crawling across my driveway and decided to point it out to our Siamese cat, Tiki (the killer). She made no attempt to get close to this ant. I’ve never seen an animal grimace before, but that’s exactly what she did as she gave it a wide berth. Obviously she had an encounter with one before.

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