Attack of the Cow Killer!

Well, not really, but what a catchy title!

This afternoon Joe was out in the front yard while the children were in the little pool. Something was going on in the house that very rarely happens. I was watching a video. (It was a macrobiotic cooking video, in case you were wondering.) Joe came running in shouting “Kris, you have GOT to come out and see this red bug. Bring your camera!” I went running out the office door with my camera and the bug was gone. Joe was fired up and looking through the dirt pile trying to find it. The mother in me came out. “Pray to St. Anthony.” No sooner had I said that the bug was spotted over right near the house. The minute I saw the thing, a big red “Danger” sign appeared in my mind. It was moving really fast which made it really hard to get a good picture. Also, I must admit, since it looked like a giant ant, I didn’t want to get anywhere near it. (Ants in the south bite hard and some sting!) Truthfully it was a beautiful bug. It was a beautiful shade of red with shiny black and it looked like velvet covered it.

I did manage to get some pictures. After that the handy dandy bug book came out. The National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders has this bug on the cover! Well, this is going to be easy. The only thing is that the cover picture does not do the bug justice. Here is what this book says about Cow Killers:

“Female searches for bumble bee nests and drops 1 egg beside each brood chamber. Cow Killer larvae invade brood chambers, feed on the larvae, kill them, and scavenge on their remains. Cow Killer larvae pupate in victim’s brood chambers.

Adult Cow Killers can run quickly and fight ferociously. They get their name from their painful sting – so severe that many people claim it could kill a cow.”

The scientific name is Dasymutilla magnifica.

cowkiller1.jpg     cowkiller22.jpg     cowkiller3.jpg


7 Responses to “Attack of the Cow Killer!”

  1. Muddy Mama Says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you paid attention to that “danger” warning. I have never seen any bug like it before and might not have been quick to keep my little ones away. They love bugs and are always bringing new ones for me to inspect. I pretend not to be squeamish. The current favorite is the stag beetle. We’ve got loads of them around here. They’re so cool!

  2. laurahiblclark Says:

    You know, I don’t think I will come and visit you in TN after all. And next time you come here, be sure to shake out your shoes first….

  3. victoria Says:

    hi there ive seen several of them in a span of a few years though once when i worked the other running down the sidewalk in pulaski.. their big woah big and looked like they could sting the crap out of a person.. yes im glad you stayed away scary huh especially with charlotte so small.. hello winter !!!

  4. Kathleen Says:

    Did you kill the thing?

    BTW, that little quilt shop is going to carry Civil War re-enactors patterns, has fabric for same, and is planning to also carry notions and such necessary for all. We were pleasantly surprised. MQ bought a ball gown bodice pattern. Very pretty.

    Miss ya.


  5. Breiyanna Says:

    Hey, I saw the same bug! I’m doing a bug project in school. My mom saw it and yelled to go get it. It was so cool! We had to kill it right away. I stuck in some cotton balls that had finger nail polish remover on it. It was the coolest looking bug I had ever seen! I looked it up and read your story. I just had to comment on it. Thank-you so much for sharing what happened to you. It was a nice story.

  6. engtech Says:

    Awesome name for a bug. 🙂

  7. Jimidean Says:

    I live in Missouri and I just saw one today! I have never seen anything like this before. My daughters first thought was to chase it, I also saw danger when looking at this thing. My dad has seen a few in the last couple weeks. Also all of my uncles bees have been dying and we think there is a connection. Thanks so much for the story.

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