Greg Frommer was returning from work on Wednesday afternoon when he discovered an Eastern Velvet Ant walking across his driveway.
“I just happened to notice a glistening red/black bug crawling up the driveway and I’ve never seen a bug like that before,” Frommer said.
That red and black insect is nicknamed “Cow Killer” because of its powerful sting which can leave victims in excruciating pain for about 30 minutes.
“On the pain scale these have one of the most intense, painful stings that are out there,” said Dr. Gene Kritsky, an entomologist at Mount St. Joseph University.
The Eastern Velvet Ant isn’t an ant at all - it's technically a wasp. The female "cow killers" are the only sex equipped with a stinger while the males are able to fly.
The bugs are normally around 3/4 inch to 1 inch long.
They tend to live in meadows, old fields, sandy areas or along the edges of forests. They are typically most active at dusk or during the night.
The females search for bumble bee nests, in which they lay their eggs where they kill host larvae and feed on them.
Dr. Kritsky said the bugs will become more prevalent as the summer goes on.
“The adults become more prevalent later in the summer,” Kritsky said. “This is about the time that my students and I start finding them and then we’ll see them more commonly towards the end of August.”
The Eastern Velvet Ant can reportedly be found in all 50 states.
The "Cow Killer" is a solitary wasp, meaning they do not congregate.
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