Velvet Ant


There are several species of “Velvet Ant” (family Mutillidae) wasps in South Africa. If you’ve had a run-in with the female of this solitary wasp, like I have, you’d definitely agree that their sting is among the most painful of any insects, although not considered particularly toxic. Females are flightless and mimics foraging ants while the winged males on the other hand frequent flowers, and are stingless. They deposit their eggs on the larvae or pupa of other wasps and bees, on which their own young then feed and grow.


26 thoughts on “Velvet Ant

      1. Ingrid

        I was stung by a velvet ant a few days ago, did not at the time realise why I was running around the kitchen clutching my thumb and screaming. My poor husband kept telling me to be still and my 90 year old mother in law came running, half dressed to see what the fuss was about. Thumb went red and swollen for about an hour and then I felt like an idiot BUT it was unbelievably painful.


    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Haha! You should see me when I notice one of these and there are other people around – I instantly turn into that very annoying person loudly trying to warn away every single adult and child in earshot… πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  1. photobyjohnbo

    A few years ago I learned of a flightless wasp that is found in Arizona. We happened upon it on a hike and I had to post a photo of it on social media to learn about it. That wasp also heaps a very painful sting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. H.J. for avian101

    I saw my first female velvet ant in my front lawn. It was bright blue and black. I did not touch it luckily. I ran to google it and found out that it’s not an ant but a female wasp! I also learned about the powerful sting!. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person


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