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Have You Seen A Hummingbird Moth? Here Are 10 Fascinating Facts

Have You Seen A Hummingbird Moth? Here Are 10 Fascinating Facts

Is it a bird or a bug? It buzzes, hovers, and flies like a hummingbird from flower to flower. There’s something about this rapid wing-beating creature that may just cause you to do a double-take. It’s one of the most fascinating insects (yes, it’s an insect!) to roam the garden, and we’ve got facts about hummingbird moth that are sure to amaze!

Hummingbird hawk-moth

10 Fascinating Facts About The Hummingbird Moth

  1. Hummingbird moth is the common name used for the genus Hemaris, which include: Hummingbird Hawk-Moth, Sphinx moth, Common Clearwing Hummingbird moth, Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird moth, Five-Spotted Hawkmoth, and White-Lined Sphinx.
  2. Just like the hummingbird, the hummingbird moth’s buzzing and humming sound is created by its rapid wing movement.
  3. Loathed by gardeners, the tomato or tobacco hornworm caterpillar that you see munching on your tomato plants will eventually morph into a Hawk moth, or Sphinx moth, each a type of hummingbird moth.
  4. The moths featured in the 1991 film, The Silence of the Lambs were death’s head hawk moths, a type of hummingbird moth (of the Sphingidae family of moths, in the genus Hemaris). According to IMDb, the moths were treated like celebrities. “They were flown first class… and had special living quarters.”
  5. The fast-moving hummingbird moth has a rapid wingbeat up to 70 beats per second (depending on the species), enabling it to fly up to 12 mph.
  6. Instead of a beak like a hummingbird, it has a long tongue-like proboscis that rolls out of its coiled tube to reach the nectar deep inside flowers. Its tongue is about double the length of the moth’s body.
  7. It has large, menacing eyes that appear to warn predators to keep their distance. Also protecting it from potential predators is its close resemblance to a bird, instead of a bug.
  8. They range in length from 2—2.5 inches long and are covered in gray hair that resembles feathers, with white, rust or brown markings or variations. Their wingspan ranges from 2 to 6 inches depending on the species. The Snowberry Clearwing moth has clear wings.
  9. The hummingbird moth can be found not only in North America, but in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  10. After mating, the female moth lays eggs on plant leaves such as honeysuckle, cherries, hawthorns, and viburnums. The hatched caterpillar feeds on its host bush or vine.
  11. These moths actively feed on flower nectar in the daytime, but you may also get a glimpse of one feeding at dusk on night-blooming flowers such as the evening primrose or night blooming jasmine.

Have you seen one of these fascinating creatures? Tell us in the comments below!

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  • Cherrl says:

    I saw my first hummingbird moth on October 3, 2017. It was feeding on a large viburnum planter around dusk. I was able to get a video of it. It didn’t seem skittish like a regular hummingbird. Enjoyed watching it!

  • Deb Moe says:

    I was pruning my butterfly bush and not paying attention. At first I thought it was a bee then realized he was hovering like a hummingbird. What a beautiful intriguing insect! God’s extraordinary creation!
    Here in South Central Pennsylvania! ❤️

  • Vikki says:

    Yes!! I watched this fascinating creature on my flowering baskets today in Anchorage, AK

  • Pete says:

    …forgot to mention location: Vero Beach, FL 32967

  • Pete says:

    We noticed a chrysalis on the floor in our screened-in patio on 6/14/20. We safely put it in an open tray with paper towel under it and watched and photographed it many times. on 6/27/20, we noticed the chrysalis was open and found the moth on the inside of the screening. We were able to safely catch and release it. We have photos and videos if you would like to see them.

  • Diane says:

    I had not seen this creature until several years ago. At a friends house admiring her gardens when one came up to the blooming ginger and refused to leave! So now I have ginger growing in two locations in my gardens! They fascinate me!

  • UNA Hoare says:

    I saw a humming bird hawk-moth in my garden yesterday evening. Never saw one before!!! I live in Rostrevor, Co Down, Northern Ireland.

  • Denise says:

    Just watched a Hawk moth in my milkweed patch as we were counting monarch caterpillars. So far 6 this season. The best yet!
    Also a hummingbird.

  • Dee says:

    I’ve just been observing two snowberry clearwings going to town on my milkweed in my Brooklyn backyard. They are feasting at dusk with fireflies popping off around them.

  • Rhonda says:

    I happened to see my first one in my yard here in Redcrest, Ca, it was about 10:15 pm. At first I didn’t know what it was, it was flying around my flowers and seemed very intriguing. I kept watching it, and that’s when I figured out it was a hummingbird moth.

  • Tina says:

    Saw a hummingbird hawk-moth in my garden, North Scotland, today and yesterday. Actually thought it was a miniature hummingbird! Amazing.

  • sharon lambert says:

    I’ve just seen a hummingbird moth in Thorne, Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

    I am blown away …………

  • Lisa says:

    Saw one feeding on a milkweed flower along the nature trail behind our house in West Bloomfield, Michigan. At dusk around 8:20 pm yesterday.

  • Martha Selby says:

    I saw one this morning. Buzzed past me and into a large bush covered with honeysuckle. I was wildly startled for a second,we don’t have a variety of hummingbirds in Charlotte, NC, but so excited to have found out what it is. Wonderfully cool insect!

  • Mary Skinner says:

    I saw one of these moths feeding on a milkweed flower in my yard. I have never seen one before. It’s the coolest bug I’ve ever seen. At first I thought it was a baby hummingbird until I googled it and learned it was a hummingbird moth.

  • Jacqui Dumont says:

    I am in Regina Sk, just released one from my garage, I think he was trapped over the weekend. He flew away but low to ground. Hope he revives outside!

  • Jacqui Dumont says:

    Just released s hummingbird moth from the garage. Amazing site!

  • Julir Turmel says:

    I started to see a hummingbird moth in my garden about a week ago. It is fairly small at the moment. I’m guessing it will get bigger.

  • Diane says:

    One came in the house through the dog door and I couldn’t get it out I planted six tomato plants just to feed them

  • Catherine DiMarzio says:

    I had seen pictures of them but never saw one until tonight @ dusk the feeding on the petunias.Thought it was a hummer until I noticed the antenna. So cool!!! I in Attleboro MA

  • Billie says:

    Wish I could post the video of the Hummingbird Moth feeding on my Lilac tree last night in North Pole, Ak.

  • Stacy says:

    I saw one last night feeding on some unknown wild flowers in my backyard, just after 9 pm. Since it was difficult to see, it took me quite awhile to identify it. I had never hear of this type of moth and was convinced it was a hummingbird but I couldn’t find it in any of my books. I got a couple of videos and spent sometime trying to find a clear shot in the footage. Stacy Fort Fairfield, Maine

  • Carol says:

    I have just seen these for the first time! About a week before, I received a photo from my brother of one at his house in Maine, or I wouldn’t have known what it was. We are in Hillsborough, NH.

  • Lenore says:

    I just saw one on my hummingbird feeder. I went for camera and got a shot on top of bird feeder. Very cool.

  • Dolores says:

    I don’t know what I saw this morning. I was cutting lavender when I heard a buzzing sound. This brown creature landed on a lavender flower and its wings shot out. It stayed on the flower for a few minutes so I observed its coloring which was a spotted brown. It then left the lavender and landed on a hew bush. As it landed the wings again shot out. It was about two or more inches. Anyone know what this was? I live in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Ann Cowan says:

    I saw a hummingbird moth this afternoon feeding on a large pot of petunias on my front porch. It was awesome @

  • Ron Tilsley says:

    Look like a small hummingbird in our lilac tree

  • Patti, Colorado Springs says:

    I saw one feeding on my milkweed after midnight a few nights ago! Had I not seen a picture of one not too long ago, I would have thought it was a hummingbird! It was so fun to watch!

  • chanelle mccamish says:

    My son and I watched a beautiful hummingbird moth the other afternoon. Buzzing happily from flower to flower. We live in southern Mn. Had to use Google lens to identify it!

  • T North says:

    Just saw a Snowberry Clearwing Humminbird Moth while watering one of our potted flowers in Central New York. It came within 2 inches of my hand and was not bothered by me at all just continued to gather nectar. Nice surprise.

  • Esko says:

    Ive seen a few today in Callander ont, near Northbay. 🙏🇨🇦❤️

  • Connie Darnell says:

    I just saw a hummingbird moth in one of my flowering bushes. I had never seen one before in Michigan so I thought it was a real small hummingbird. Looked it up and found the exact beautiful moth.

  • Tim says:

    Saw one feeding tonight on
    my primrose bush(Royal Oak,Mi)

  • Tim says:

    Saw them tonight feeding on my primrose Bush.(metro Detroit)

  • Mary Jane says:

    First saw them last year in my flower garden and just now (June 15) 2 of them going around to my flowers. Sudbury, Ontario

  • Karla says:

    I live on Long Island and I see a hummingbird moth every summer for the past 10 years.

  • Angela Prevel says:

    I live in Guernsey, Channel Islands and had one humming around the hedge yesterday June 14th. Never seen or knew about these. Managed to get a video.

  • Michelle says:

    yes, I’ve seen this (or a few of them) 3 times over the past week, in our flower gardens. Chatsworth, Ontario

  • Sylvia A Lassam says:

    Had one in my back yard in downtown Toronto today, feasting on lilac blooms.

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