Cow Killer Caught In the Act

I had two previous posts on the killers.  The first was on Cicada Killer Wasps that dig tunnels, fill them with Cicadas and lay their eggs on them.  There are not many Cicada Killer Wasps (sphecius speciosus) in the yard now, although I saw one working on this hole this morning.  The Cow Killer Wasp (Dasymutilla occidentalis) found it.

I caught the female Cow Killer, that is often called a Red Velvet Ant, backing out of the hole where she lays her eggs in the Cicada Killer’s tunnel which hatch first and eat the stored Cicada.

The deed was done and she scurried away.


9 Comments on “Cow Killer Caught In the Act”

  1. Misti says:

    Must be a season for them because we saw three last weekend!

  2. shoreacres says:

    I finally figured out what’s been nagging at the back of my mind when I hear the phrase ‘red velvet.’ It’s not the word ‘ant’ — it’s the word ‘cake.’ Now that Bluebell has a red velvet cake ice cream flavor, I see that phrase a good bit, and of course red velvet cake’s still pretty common. In any word association game, there’s no question I’d finish ‘red velvet’ with ‘cake.’

    The ant’s black parts could stand in for the cocoa in the cake. I sure would like to see one of the ants someday.

  3. Tina says:

    Fabulous shots!! Lucky you to witness this and lucky us that you share it!

  4. Why is it called the Cow Killer?

    • The sting really hurts humans and I guess someone came up with it hurts so bad, it could kill a cow. Or maybe the name was used just to keep people (kids) from touching it. It is a really pretty bug and I could see that kids would want to catch it.

  5. Sheryl says:

    Cow Killer Ant – Whew, just the name of this insect makes it sound very deadly.


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