Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Husband Is Crazy!

So, Jeremy caught this ant thing the other day. It was the craziest looking, furry, striped ant I had ever seen. He put it in a container and was letting the kids look at it. My first thought was to smoosh it, but he was curious, as were the kids, so off he went to check online and figure out what kind of ant it was. It didn't take him long to figure out that although it was called a velvet ant, it wasn't actually an ant at all. Here's what the Ask the Exterminator website said:

The velvet ant is actually a wasp that closely resembles an ant. They are covered in hair that is often brightly colored, which serves as a warning to predators that this wasp can deliver a painful sting.

The one we found was a female which are wingless, hence the confusion with an actual ant. They are about ten times bigger than any ant I've ever seen though! After he read that, I said "out" with the wingless wasp. Especially after he read the other name they're known by....."cow killer ant"! What?! Anything that can kill a cow, does not have a place in my home! As Jeremy read on, we discovered why they are actually called that:

You should avoid handling velvet ants because they have a very painful sting. They got the name cow killer because the sting is so painful that it can kill a cow. Actually, that isn't true, and the name might have developed because a sting could lead to infection by bacteria or sawflies that could eventually kill a cow, but the description of how painful their sting is, is how the name cow killer got stuck. Velvet ants are not aggressive and will try to escape rather than defend territory if you approach them. However, if you pick them up they can squeak loudly and deliver a venomous sting.

So what does Jeremy do? He tries to make it squeak. And squeak it did! That little bug was loud! Eventually, after he was done experimenting with his new found ant species, Jeremy let it go out in the yard. I was still voting for the smooshing option!


CailinMarie said...

OH MY! I've never heard of such a bug - and it sounds like it hurts! Of course he tried to make it squeeck - silly boy. Glad nobody got stung though!!

Kevin Conner said...


I saw these occasionally in Virginia and had the same experience you guys did. Found out about it online.. yeah a type of wasp... very freaky, (very cool!)

I put one in a cup and shook it up and it sounded like a windup toy getting would the wrong way fast. I also saw it's jet black stinger come jabbing out!

I went a step further and tried to crush it with my shoe. No dice. Even when I took a large stick to it... it was too hard for that. Finally, I think what I ended up doing is finding a large rock and GRRRRINDING it. It was tough. They are very hearty little insects.