Cow Killer Ants: Facts, Identification, and Control

Cow killer ants (Dasymutilla occidentalis), also known as velvet ants, are a fascinating yet intimidating species found throughout North America. These wasps have a striking appearance with their bright red to black fuzzy bodies and long legs. While their name may be misleading, their painful sting is known to cause discomfort to both humans and animals alike. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cow killer ants, including their identification, habitat, behavior, and control methods, so you can stay informed and protect yourself from these formidable insects.

Cow Killer Ant Identification

Cow killer ants are easily recognizable by their fuzzy appearance, which ranges from bright red to black in color. They have long, thin legs and are wingless. Females are larger than males and can grow up to one inch in length.

Cow Killer Ant Habitat

Cow killer ants are ground-dwelling insects and are typically found in open fields, pastures, and wooded areas. They prefer dry, sandy soil and avoid moist environments. In urban areas, they can sometimes be found nesting in lawns and gardens.

Cow Killer Ant Behavior

Cow killer ants are solitary insects and are not aggressive unless they feel threatened. They are primarily active during the day and are known for their fast running speed and the loud buzzing sound they make while in flight. They prey on other insects and use their powerful stingers to paralyze their victims before laying their eggs on them.

Cow Killer Ant Sting

Cow killer ants are known for their extremely painful sting, which is reported to be one of the most painful of any insect in North America. The sting is delivered by females and is used to defend themselves and their nests. Symptoms of a cow killer ant sting include intense pain, swelling, and redness at the sting site, as well as possible nausea and vomiting.

Cow Killer Ant Control

If you have a cow killer ant infestation, the best way to control them is to eliminate their nesting sites and food sources. Keep your lawn well-manicured, remove any piles of debris or leaves, and seal up any cracks or crevices in your home’s foundation. If you encounter a cow killer ant, do not attempt to handle or kill it as this may provoke an attack. Instead, contact a professional pest control service, such as Arete Pest Control, for safe and effective removal.

Cow Killer Ant FAQs

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and regain control over your property. Our experienced team is well-equipped to handle cow killer ants and ensure your home or business is free from these stinging pests.