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HumBug: Ow! The Lady Stings 

click to enlarge Cute little fuzzy velvet ant.  Don't let her looks fool you.  She packs a wallop. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Cute little fuzzy velvet ant. Don't let her looks fool you. She packs a wallop.

I usually discourage folks from bringing me insects since I do not actively collect, but when my son told me he had what he thought was a very fuzzy, wingless wasp, I was delighted.
While it might not be politically correct to stereotype red heads as fiery, you might want to give this ginger girl a wide berth. Introducing the velvet ant. Not truly an ant, she is a solitary wasp of the family mutillidae. Sporting one of the longest stingers in the insect world for her size — and one of the most painful stings — gives rise to her other common name: cow killer. She also has one of the hardest shells I know of, making it difficult to even drive a pin through one. All this armament helps her get away with laying her eggs in the nests of other wasps to consume their larvae and pupae. There are yellow, white and black and white varieties, as well.


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