Hummingbird Hawk Moths (a bit off topic)

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by WesternWilson, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Our honeysuckle, very fragrant and about 8' high and wide right now, has been visited lately by what I assume are Hummingbird Hawk Moths. They are gorgeous! I had no idea we had them here on the Lower Mainland!

    I have seen videos on YouTube of these creatures, all in daytime. But ours come only just before full dark...just as dusk ends. Is this normal for this moth?

    Anyone else see these lately?

    Regards,
    Janet
     
  2. mort

    mort Active Member

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    I think I have seen them here. There is an article about them in the September issue of Garden's West. The catapiller (Tomato Horn Worm) is not so nice to have in the garden though.
     
  3. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    I have looked up a bit of information on these creatures, and I do not think what I saw was likely the parent of Tomato Horn Worm, Manduca quinquemaculata, although I do believe they occur in our area.

    Check out this publication from the Royal Museum of BC (I had no idea we had so many Sphinx moths in BC):
    http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Content_Files/Files/Sphinx_moth.pdf

    The only one they talk about feeding at night as an adult moth is Hyles lineata , the White-lined Sphinx, and its "larval food plants are diverse: including the foliage of portulaca, chickweed (Cerastium spp.), fireweed (Epilobium spp.) four o'clock (Mirabilis spp.) apple and pear (Pyrus spp.), plum (Prunus spp.)., grape (Vitis spp.) and forage plants such as buckwheat."

    Because it is getting so dark when they arrive, I cannot clearly identify the moths.

    We have lots of tomatoes and potatoes in the yard, and a largish bed of Nicotiana sylvestris, all untouched. We also have tons of fireweed (I always let a few at the back of the borders remain to bloom as they are so spectacular), and snowberry on the other side of the fence in a greenbelt area.
     
  4. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Fraser Valley, BC.
    Whatever the hawk moths may be, I welcome the sight of their caterpillars on my plants. There only tend to be a few & I will gladly sacrifice some leaves for them. I have never heard of them causing mass problems like tent caterpillars or various species of "army worms". I grow Brugmania in a pot & it gets a couple of large caterpillars every year - if it weren't for them I'd not bother growing it!
     
  5. mort

    mort Active Member

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    Thank you for this clarification, the RBCM report is really informative and I will watch for these moths with more interest.
     

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