Hummingbird Moth

Post here with questions about hummingbird moths or sphinx moths
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Whitey
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city_state: Singers Glen, Virginia

Hummingbird Moth

Post by Whitey » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:56 pm

I live near Singers Glen, VA. (22850), on a 10 acre site that is 3/4 wooded. Yesterday I identified several Hummingbird Clear-wing Moths feeding on a mass of Lantana I have in my front flowerbed. After making sure I had the right insect, I read a bit about this moth. I think this is the one that in it's larval stage bores into hardwoods (particularly Ash) and eventually kills it. Needless to say I am very concerned.

I called 1 local nursery-owner who I thought may be able to help me and he hadn't even heard of the moth.

Thanks for any help there is to offer.

Whitey

lorijones
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Location: Fishersville, VA

Re: Hummingbird Moth

Post by lorijones » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:16 pm

The larvae of the Clearwing Hummingbird Moth are large caterpillars that feed on the leaves of viburnum, hawthorn, honeysuckle, buckbrush, wild cherry and plum, and a few other types of fruit trees. They are not wood borers. Wood borers are most often the larvae of beetles. The larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer (a beetle) is responsible for killing millions of ash trees in many US states in the midwest, northeast, and eastern Canada - even as far south as Virginia.
These Clearwing Hummingbird Moths and Sphinx Moths are fun to watch but are harmless to your trees other than some chewing on the leaves by the caterpillars. Although, the tomato hornworm can sometimes devastate tomato plants when they feed on the foliage!

Whitey
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city_state: Singers Glen, Virginia

Re: Hummingbird Moth

Post by Whitey » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:02 pm

Thanks so much, Lori. This makes me breathe easier. I also wrote to the Dept. of Forestry, and this is what he said. Bruce Harmon is his name.

It's not considered a forest pest and I would not have much of a concern for your trees. Their preferred foods are not typical oak/hickory/pine species. They are somewhat rare around here. Adults feed on nectar. If you are still concerned, a habitat change would be recommended in that you remove the flowering plants/shrubs that offer feeding opportunities. Application (to the flowers) of Sevin as a wettable powder will kill the adults but also kill bees which share the same blossoms. I really wouldn't loose any sleep over the bug. Ash trees would be more susceptible to the emerald ash borer making its way around the state. Well-spaced healthy trees are the first line of defense regarding any pest. [/b]

Once again, thank you so much. What a relief!

Whitey

lorijones
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Re: Hummingbird Moth

Post by lorijones » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:17 pm

Wow - I'm a little surprised he even mentioned spraying Sevin on flowers! It will kill any pollinators that visit your plants! Yikes!
Glad your mind is at ease now. They are really cool moths and unusual because they are active during the day rather than at night like most moths!

carolnell
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Re: Hummingbird Moth

Post by carolnell » Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:02 am

I just found this post. Wow, Lori - you're right; I can't believe any forestry official would have ever recommended spraying Seven on nectar flowers. I love Lantana, & it's a favorite of butterflies, bees & hummingbirds. And I find hummingbird moths fascinating; they're not very skittish, so you can observe them up close.

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