If you want to attract this amazing day flying nectaring moth, having the right native food and nectar plants in your yard is the key. This caterpillar was photographed in early June.
|Hemaris thysbe in flight
Pictured here is the closely related species, Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe), with its long proboscis unfurling from its coil to nectar on native Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa).
These moths are bee mimics, resembling a bumble bee. Read an earlier post on bee mimics here.This defensive camouflage makes birds think twice about eating the moth, a real advantage since they're active during the day.
This moth has "two overlapping generations" per year in the upper Midwest. (Moths & Caterpillars of the North Woods) "When they (caterpillars) are fully-grown they drop to the ground, spin a loose cocoon and pupate, partially protected by leaf litter." (US Forest Service, Celebrating Wildflowers)
FOR SNOWBERRY CLEARWING MOTHS
The Snowberry Clearwing Moth caterpillars have some favorite food plants including Diervilla ~ Bush Honeysuckle, Lonicera ~ Honeysuckles, Symphoricarpos ~ Snowberry, Amsonia ~ Bluestar, and Apocynaceae ~ Dogbane. (Caterpillars of Eastern North America)
Amsonia species that flowers in May, five petaled, light blue flowers. This is a very drought tolerant native for full sun and well drained soils. Note: there are no Amsonia species native to Minnesota.
The attractive foliage turns a golden yellow in fall with interesting partially hidden seed pods that unwrap to reveal a rectangular brown seed.
It is an aggressive native and for that reason is not usually available for sale.