Order Hymenoptera encompasses Ants, Bees, and Wasps. About 18,000 types reside in North Amerca (excluding Mexico). Like other insects, they have chewing mouth parts for breaking down food sources. Ants can deliver bites through their mandibles while Bees and Wasps sting to repel threats and subdue prey. The order typically operates during the warm summer months across Tennessee. Bees are an utterly important part of the state's ecosystem, eating pollen and nectar to help raise their young - Bee by-products are essential in many human products and their pollinating action serves many other purposes. While Bees and Wasps live in carefully constructed nests, the social Ant survives in colony made up of networked tunnels. The furry Bumble Bee is not aggressive by nature though disturbing an in-ground nest of Yellow Jacket wasps will be a mistake made only once!
Common Name: "Cow Killer Wasp"
Other Names: "Eastern Velvet Ant"
Scientific Name: Dasymutilla occidentalis
TAXONOMIC BREAKDOWN: The Taxonomic Breakdown is the scientific way to categorize a partocular insect species from its largest group (Animalia) to its smallest (variable). The Genus and Species categorizations taken together make up the species' scientific name shown above, in this case Dasymutilla occidentalis.
Abdomen: Has a noticeably large / oversized abdomen.
Antenna: Antenna are noticeably apparent on this insect.
Caution: Caution should be exercised around this insect.
Harmful: Known to be harmful in one way or another.
Outdoors: Typically found across the great outdoors.
Six-Legged: Six legs are common to this insect.
Stinging: Known to sting if bothered / threatened.
Striped / Banded: Noticeable stripes or banding pattern.
The Cow Killer Wasp is also known by these other names:
Eastern Velvet Ant
The Cow Killer Wasp has been identified by site users by the following descriptors:
large   six-legged   outdoors   painful   harmful   stinging   hairy   fuzzy   antenna   abdomen   red   black   striped
The general likelihood of encountering this insect based on a given month of the year in the state of Tennessee. Generally, the best sighting months are June through August with peak occurring in July.
Below is a representation of the 'smallest-small' and 'largest-large' sizes commonly associated with the Cow Killer Wasp. Due to monitor differences, sizes may not be exact on your particular screen. Conversions to millimeters are provided for convenience.
0.59 inches (15 mm)
0.98 inches (25 mm)
Below you will find the colors most commonly associated with the Cow Killer Wasp. Both Primary and Secondary colors are represented in the showcase. Due to monitor differences, colors may not be exact representations.
The Cow Killer Wasp can be found in the following Tennessee counties:
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