Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Bumblebee Moth or Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris sp.

Plants used by the adult Bumblebee Moth as a nectar source.

The adult Bumblebee Moth will feed on their larval food plants, honeysuckle and snowberry, for nectar. They also will get nectar from milkweed, Monardella, and some thistles. Monardella is an excellent garden plant for butterflies as well as Moths. It has perennial and annual forms from white to purple flowers. It also has a fresh minty scent.

The Bumblebee Moth really likes these 'Pozo blue' sages. I was observing them for a couple of hours and they fed on this block of 'Pozo Blue' sages in the nursery the whole time, hovering around with the true bumblebees. They're really fast!

Bumblebee Moth breeding

When the female Bumblebee Moth is ready to mate she releases pheromones to attract the male. You will not notice much other than bees appear to be chasing each other all over the garden.

The Bumblebee Moth looks uncannily like a Bumblebee.

This disguise is to dissuade any predators who might otherwise find them a tasty treat. But when you look closer it has moth characteristics. Although sparse it does have scales. The soft and fuzzy looking ones on the top of the thorax are the most obvious but there are also scales on the veins of the wings and in a few cells. They also differ from Bumblebees in that they are able to hover while feeding, unlike the Bumblebee (that must land). Another interesting thing about this bee mimic is that it is in the Sphinx Moth family (Sphingidae). This odd Moth flies around and feeds during the day!

Plants used by the Bumblebee Moth larva

The Bumblebee Moth larva feeds on Snowberry plants and honeysuckle primarily. Snowberry is a very drought tolerant shrub that has pink flowers and snow white berries.

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A side view of a Bumblebee or Hummingbird moth. - grid24_24
We had a number of This Bumblebee, or Hummingbird moths in 2010. This one is working a
Salvia clevelandii Alpine
A Bumblebee Moth or Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris sp.  working a Salvia clevelandii Alpine flower. When he flies between flowers the tongue is rolled. These moths used to be out at night all over Southern California. Imagine going out in the evening in Santa Barbara or Los Angeles and finding a Bumblebee moth working the flowers. - grid24_24
Don't you wish you could roll your tongue like this?