Found one of these in the garden today...

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Ravenlost, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    Did some research and discovered this is a Velvet Ant, but is actually a type of wasp. Very pretty insect with a painful sting. Glad I was smart enough to scoop it up in a jar instead of trying to pick it up (I'm allergic to bee and wasp stings).

    Guess I'll keep it in the jar until hubby sees it and then let it go in a less traveled area than my garden!
     
  2. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Oooo....And those things hurt too!

    BTW- If I remember correctly the male actually does have wings. Very neat little critters really.

    Sylvar
     

  3. stormwalker

    stormwalker Well-Known Member

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    Cool picture!
    It's a shame you're allergic to both bees and hornets. I guess I'm lucky, only bees of the carpenter, bumble persuasion are any danger to me. Wasps and hornets do nothing to me.
     
  4. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yup, the males have wings, but the females don't.

    Hornet stings will cause me to black out within minutes of being stung. The swelling starts immediately. Fortunately, it's been about 23 years since I've been stung.
     
  5. LaDonna

    LaDonna Well-Known Member

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    Another name for the insect is the "Cow Killer" because they say the sting is painful enough to kill a cow. Don't get stung!!!!!
     
  6. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hubby very carefully set it free. LOL...when he got home from work and saw it in the jar he said, "Where'd you catch the velvet ant?" and was quite proud of his city-raised self to know something I didn't (I had to look it up online to learn what it was). Seems they had bunches of them in California when he was a kid.
     
  7. januaries

    januaries Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating! I had no idea they were part of the wasp family. We always had a lot of them around here in Alabama... called them "cow ants". At least I think they're the same thing--they look very similar.
     
  8. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Yep, we have'em around here, too. My five-year old picked one up the other day cause he thought it was pretty. Got a nasty sting. Thankfully, he's not allergic, but he "don't wanna play with'em no more".
     
  9. BaronsMom

    BaronsMom Well-Known Member

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    The adult velvet ants feed on nectar and water. The immature stages are external parasites of wasp that nest in the ground like cicada killer wasp. Cicada killer wasp dig burrows into the ground. The adult cicada killer wasp capture and paralyze cicadas and drag them into the underground burrow. The wasp lays an egg on the cicada and after it hatches, the cicada killer wasp larva uses the cicada as a food source.

    Here is where the velvet ant comes into the picture. After the developing cicada killer wasp have formed cocoons, the adult female velvet ants slip into the hole in the ground where the nest is located and lays eggs on the cocoon. The velvet ant larvae hatch and feed on, eventually killing, the developing wasp larvae. When it ready to become an adult, the velvet ant pupates inside the nest of the wasp where it will emerge the next season.

    Velvet ants do not cause damage and no chemical controls are need. Velvet ants should be left alone, but if control is desired, make sure you have on a heavy-soled shoe before stepping on the insect!