image of barnstable county courthouse

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a bug???

~A note from Larry Dapsis, Extension’s County Entomologist

Hummingbird Hawk Moth in a Cape Cod garden.

At first glance you might think this is a hummingbird.  But if you look closely this creature has antennae.  This is a hummingbird hawk moth.  When as an entomology student I came across one of these and I was absolutely mesmerized.  Most moths are nocturnal…these are one of the few day active moths and can be seen up to about dusk. 

This is a beauty and the beast situation.  Most hummingbird moths are content to visit and feed on nectar rich flowers.  One hummingbird moth is a bane to gardeners, the tomato hornworm.  You may see these moths at dusk hovering around your tomatos and even peppers, eggplant and potato.  These caterpillars can do a lot of damage in a hurry.

So what is the best way to entice hummingbird moths to visit your garden.  Plants with trumpet shaped flowers are great.  Hummingbird moths have long coiled mouthparts that can reach deep into the bottom of flowers.  Here’s some of the plants that are very attractive:  honeysuckle, jasmine, trumpet flower, moonflower, morning glory, petunias and impatiens.

If you have any questions about what’s buzzing around your yard, feel free to reach out to me at or submit your questions at my website, Feel free to attach a video or picture file!