Does anyone know much about the hummingbird moth?

Home Forums Gardening Bugs and Butterflies Does anyone know much about the hummingbird moth?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Jill Staake Jill Staake 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #5135958 Report Abuse
    margba
    margba
    Participant

    It’s such an interesting insect!  I have noticed a few around here.  Are they a moth or more like a bee?  Do they pollinate?


    #5135987 Report Abuse
    dsp
    dsp
    Participant

    Hummingbird moths are actual moths; they are beautiful in the adult stage, and they do help with pollination.

    However, in the pupa stage they are hornworms (tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms); they feed on tomato plants, pepper plants, potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco.  They defoliate the plants, eat into the fruit, and generally make a mess — which isn’t a problem if you have a large garden, but can be a huge problem if you have a small one.  When I lived in an apartment and had to garden in containers, I lost my entire crop to them one year!

    I try my best to keep them out of my garden; if they reach the adult stage, though, I figure might as well enjoy their beauty.


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    #5136316 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Actually, the most commonly-seen hummingbird clearwing moths (Hemaris thysbe) don’t feed on tomato or related plants. They have different hosts, like viburnum. These are the diurnal (day-flying) moths you’ll see at your butterfly and hummingbird plants. You can learn more about them in this post I wrote a bit ago for the blog: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/hummingbird-clearwing-moth/

    There are  many other types of moths around this size, known as sphinx moths, and tomato hornworms do turn into one of these (the five-lined sphinx moth). These are nocturnal and most often seen in your garden around dusk, like the tersa sphinx moth below. Learn more here: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/spectacular-sphinx-moths/

    If you have more questions, let me know!


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5136465 Report Abuse
    margba
    margba
    Participant

    Thanks for the great info Jill & Dinah! Good to know about them.  I really hate cabbage moths!


    #5136471 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Ooooh, not to stir up the pot or anything, but Cabbage Whites are actually butterflies too, not moths. ;)

    http://www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/dont-hate-the-cabbage-pillars/

    I totally get why people hate them, though.


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5137026 Report Abuse
    steve232__nc
    steve232__nc
    Participant

    Oh yes I know about the dreaded cabbage white butterflies. I always dread seeing them flying around my cole crops in the garden. I know when I see them its not going to be long till I have to watch for those caterpillars that can really do a lot of damage.


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    #5137346 Report Abuse
    margba
    margba
    Participant

    Didnt realize cabbage moths were really bf!  Are those little yellow guys that are about tge same size as that cabbage white butterflies or moths?


    #5137395 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Also butterflies, Marg! With the exception of just a couple of day-flying moths (including the hummingbird moths), anything you see flying during the day is a butterfly. This post I wrote awhile ago might help: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/moth-or-butterfly-can-you-tell-the-difference/


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5137547 Report Abuse
    margba
    margba
    Participant

    Jill, I think I remember being told that about bf’s/moths — that moths fly at night thing!  Good reminder!


    #5144963 Report Abuse
    SandraRW
    SandraRW
    Participant

    Remember a moth is a butterfly with his PJ’s on! hehehe

    here are a few of my “hummingbird” moths



    #5145191 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Sandra – Such great shots! I lovelike their clear wings, don’t you? Those “clear” spots are actually spots that don’t have any of the colorful wing scales that other butterflies and moths have.

    I really love these guys. They break all the rules for what people think of as “moths”.


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

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