Blue ants: the ‘ants’ that are really wasps

  • 1 February 2008 | Updated 8 February 2013

The blue ant, Diamma bicolor, is a wingless female wasp in the Family Tiphiidae.

They are approximately 23 millimetres long with a polished blue-green body and reddish legs.

Blue ants run on the ground in a jerky, restless motion with their abdomen raised.

They are a species of flower wasp, and are solitary in nature.

The male has wings and is smaller (about 15 millimetres long), slimmer and black with white spots on the abdomen.

Male blue ants look more like a typical wasp.

Blue ants are a native species found in Tasmania and south-eastern mainland Australia including:

  • New South Wales
  • the Australian Capital Territory
  • Victoria
  • South Australia.
Blue ants are shiny blue-green, wingless female wasps which paralyse mole crickets as food for their larvae.

Females run along the ground searching for tunnelling mole crickets, which they paralyse with a sting and lay an egg on it.

On hatching, the wasp larva eats the cricket.

Adults of both sexes are often found on flowers and feed on nectar.

The female has a very painful sting, but as blue ants are not common, they are not considered a problem species.

They will only sting if disturbed, so should be avoided.

If stung, an ice pack applied to the site of the sting will help relieve the pain.

CSIRO Entomology is not currently researching blue ants.

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