The name "red velvet ant" is a deceiving title for a small insect. The red velvet ant is actually a species of wasp. It is named for its thick hair and color. Males fly and have no stingers, while females have no wings but can produce an extremely painful sting. These wasps are solitary; they do not live in hives or colonies like other species. If you see a red velvet ant in your yard or garden, it will try to avoid you; however, if you find a number of them, or are trying to protect children or pets, you may want to kill the ants.

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Red velvet ants are actually a species of wasp.

Step 1

Spray individual ants with wasp spray. Any insecticide that is effective on bees or wasps will also be effective on red velvet ants.

Step 2

Step on individual red velvet ants with thick-soled shoes. Never crush an ant with bare skin, as the stings can be extremely painful.

Step 3

Track ants entering your home or garden if you find a large population. While the ants are solitary wasps, there may be a number living near your home that can potentially cause harm. Follow their paths and you may discover holes or nests where females are laying eggs.

Step 4

Dust the holes or nests with wasp spray or insecticide dust. Many garden centers and nurseries will sell these products, which penetrate into nests or holes to eliminate insects.