Saturday, August 04, 2007

Now We Know: Cowkillers

We discovered a new bug-neighbor last summer running at a fast clip across our driveway.

Its kind made a sudden appearance again just a few days ago. It’s a frightening looking bugger- a giant ant-like thing with shockingly bright red velvet fur interlaced with black. A good inch long and very aware of its surroundings.

When we approached the few we’ve seen, they turn, look up at us, and triple-time it at a full-on run across the ground to get away. When you get close to them they make a weird clicking sound and seem to get rather agitated.

I found out this morning what they are- Cowkillers. There’s a great website called that identifies creepy crawlers for you. Just send in a photo and get a quick post to your photo telling you all about the bug. I used Google and searched “black red furry ant bug” and bingo- there was a gorgeous portrait of our new neighbor. They are actually flightless wasps.

Why are they called Cowkillers? Apparently because their sting is so painful, it is said to be able to kill a cow. It wouldn’t actually, but I can see a parent a hundred years ago telling that to his little boy to keep him away from the attractive little killers.

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Christa said...

Yikes! That is a scary bug - I hate the ones that are aware of their surroundings...the oblivious ones that hardly notice you are much less of a threat.

Spiders fall under that 'very aware' list.