Can cow killer ants really kill a cow?  Or a horse?  OR A HUMAN?



This beauty was over one inch long!


NO. But in a vain attempt to keep you reading, I’ll explain what they really are and how they developed such a name. 


Cow killer ants, also known as red velvet ants, are actually a wasp.  And they are beautiful - like crazy beautiful.  About an inch long, the female wasps don’t have wings and crawl around on the ground.  The males are similar in appearance, but have a set of black wings.  After mating, the females of some species lay their eggs in the nests of other bees and wasps, so that the hatching cow killer ants have a food source - the larvae of the bees or other wasps.  




They are unbelievable tough - as evidenced by their ability to invade another wasp nest and lay eggs.  Cow killers are also solitary, shy, and really work hard to stay out of the way.  However…. if held, stepped on, or otherwise handled, they deliver a nasty sting.  This sting is ridiculously intense, hence the name, cow killer.  




But the cow killer sting won’t kill a cow, or a horse.  It likely won’t kill you, either, but it never hurts to get checked out. 


Learn something new every day, right?