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Hummingbird Moth, Common Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Sphingidae (SFIN-gi-dee) (Info)
Genus: Hemaris
Species: thysbe


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Bay Minette, Alabama
Heflin, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Vernon, Alabama
Compton, Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Capistrano Beach, California
Eureka, California
Hidden Meadows, California
Stamford, Connecticut
Alva, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Molino, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Venice, Florida
Dahlonega, Georgia
Tifton, Georgia
Rathdrum, Idaho
Algonquin, Illinois
Blue Island, Illinois
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois (2 reports)
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois
Troy, Illinois
Bluffton, Indiana
Bristol, Indiana
Corunna, Indiana
Crothersville, Indiana
Danville, Indiana
Greenwood, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Jeffersonville, Indiana (2 reports)
Merrillville, Indiana
New Palestine, Indiana
Noblesville, Indiana
Upland, Indiana
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Barbourville, Kentucky
Benton, Kentucky
Coushatta, Louisiana
Galliano, Louisiana
South China, Maine
Baltimore, Maryland
Boonsboro, Maryland
Brimfield, Massachusetts
Halifax, Massachusetts
Marshfield, Massachusetts
Paxton, Massachusetts
Swansea, Massachusetts
Walpole, Massachusetts
Weymouth, Massachusetts
Belleville, Michigan
Constantine, Michigan
Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Farmington, Michigan
Hastings, Michigan
Howell, Michigan
Jonesville, Michigan
Lake, Michigan
Ludington, Michigan
Marion, Michigan
Newport, Michigan
Niles, Michigan
Owosso, Michigan
Saline, Michigan
South Haven, Michigan
Westland, Michigan
Albertville, Minnesota
Buffalo, Minnesota
Duluth, Minnesota
Good Thunder, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Wayzata, Minnesota
Marietta, Mississippi
Conway, Missouri
Hermann, Missouri
Joplin, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Robert, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Livingston, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Henderson, Nevada
Hudson, New Hampshire
Nashua, New Hampshire
Newton, New Jersey
Oak Ridge, New Jersey
Greenfield Center, New York
Himrod, New York
Keuka Park, New York
Kingston, New York
Lindenhurst, New York
Mechanicville, New York
Newburgh, New York
Staten Island, New York
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Clemmons, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina (2 reports)
Graham, North Carolina
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Hudson, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Salisbury, North Carolina
Bowling Green, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Chesterland, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio (2 reports)
Corning, Ohio
Hubbard, Ohio
Miamisburg, Ohio
New Madison, Ohio
Waverly, Ohio
Stilwell, Oklahoma
Alexandria, Pennsylvania
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Easton, Pennsylvania
Morrisville, Pennsylvania
Oil City, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Crossville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Del Rio, Texas
Early, Texas
Fabens, Texas
Flower Mound, Texas
Mesquite, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Alexandria, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Dutton, Virginia
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Gate City, Virginia
Penhook, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Spokane, Washington
Eagle River, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Marinette, Wisconsin
Menasha, Wisconsin
Portage, Wisconsin
Racine, Wisconsin
West Bend, Wisconsin
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Jul 25, 2018, PriscillaKing from Gate City, VA wrote:

Dittos the comment from Kentucky. Hemaris "clearwing" moths are in the same family with Manduca (tomato/tobacco hornworms), but a different genus. Size, shape, and color are different. Hemaris don't eat tomato plants. Manduca moths (sexta or quinquemaculata) are bigger, have drab wings that don't look clear, and don't buzz around flowers.

I occasionally see Hemaris in the garden; they're harmless, amusing to watch, and helpful pollinators for some flowers.


On Jul 25, 2018, KCClark from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

The info from Hidden Meadows, CA is incorrect. The tomato hornworm's binomial name is Manduca quinquemaculata. This moth is Hemaris thysbe, as noted in the title of this page. Hemaris thysbe caterpillars will not eat tomato leaves but do eat a number of other plants. I planted Arrowwood viburnum and trumpet honeysuckle for them but have not been lucky enough to get caterpillars yet.

Tomato hornworms eat the leaves of plants in the Nightshade family. If you find the caterpillars on your tomatoes, I suggest relocating the caterpillars to petunias or horsenettles, an undesirable weed you might have in your yard. The caterpillar will remove it for you.


On Jul 23, 2018, greatmamaone from Hidden Meadows, CA wrote:

The moths come from the tomatoe horned worms. They can devower your tomatoe plants over night...the worm is very destructive.


On Mar 9, 2016, Farvista from Flower Mound, TX wrote:

We have the White-Lined Sphinxes. We love our zebra-striped, furry little hummingbirds. At dusk, they're all over the flower beds. They seem to love the red-flowered sage.


On Feb 4, 2016, nutsaboutnature from Algonquin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

It's always a joy to be outside when a Hummingbird Moth shows up. These guys are very unique-looking, unlike any other moth or butterfly I've ever seen.

In my yard they seem especially fond of Monarda blooms and will take their time going from one bloom to the next seeming totally unfazed by my presence.

I look forward to seeing them every year!


On Aug 10, 2015, bonny13 from Racine, WI wrote:

We get these wonderful little creatures every year! They love to come to my nasturniums and eat. Last year, I had 20 or so buzzing around! It was so amazing and beautiful! I can't wait for them to come back, so every year I have my nasturniums ready for them!


On Sep 12, 2013, tcrissamos from New Milford, IL wrote:

Saw this beautiful creature in Rockford, IL on Sept 11 2013.
i have never seen one before and think its soooo beautiful.


On Jul 18, 2013, JasonCoop from Walpole, MA wrote:

I was on my deck today and looked down at the garden and saw one of these, wasn't sure what it was at first. went inside to get my camera and managed to get the shot that i just uploaded here. about an hour later i went back outside and there were 5 or 6 of them going from flower to flower in the garden. they are really cool looking!
/photos/[email protected]/9314638185/


On May 23, 2013, No1PugMom from Balmville, NY wrote:

This is by far the most unusual insect I have ever seen. I dubbed it the hummingbee because of the stripes on its back. It was amazing how it hovered like a hummingbird, but definitely was not. I was able to get a picture of it this year. I've seen it last year also.


On Oct 1, 2012, judy0711 from Venice, FL wrote:

We have a ton of these in our yard. My husband has beautiful gardens of exotic flowers all around our house and they just love them! My husband (we are originally from Michigan) and our neighbor from Ohio, would tell me all the time, "you just missed another hummingbird". I would get so mad! Then I realized it was these "bugs" that they thought were actual hummingbirds!! I would point out the "feelers" at the head and the four wings when they fly - they still insisted they were right! Well, we found one dead on a plant today and I was finally able to get a good enough look at it to find your website and prove to my husband once and for all - it's not a true hummingbird! Oh well, they are still cool to watch flitter around! LOL!


On Aug 18, 2012, Manix5 from New Palestine, IN wrote:

I found a Hummingbird Moth in my backyard in New Palestine Indiana. First time I have seen one of these. I thought it was a Baby Hummingbird at first. I have uploaded 2 photos.


On Jul 18, 2012, owossoallen from Owosso, MI wrote:

We spent a little while watching several of these tonight. They were loving the bee balm in my "butterfly garden". At one time we counted 4. Didn't know what they were for sure until we came & looked it up. Thought they were baby hummingbirds.


On Jul 11, 2012, suzmor13 from Saline, MI wrote:

Just saw one for the first time in Saline, MI. I watched for a long time because of how it looked; like a mixture of a prawn,moth and hummingbird.


On Jul 4, 2012, jaxbaq from Chicago, IL wrote:

Just saw this today on northside of Chicago. I thought it was a huge wasp at first, then thought hummingbird, then did a head smack as I realized it was a moth.


On May 18, 2012, Drmestrong from Eagle River, WI wrote:

Just took pictures of one feeding in our hanging baskets. Thought it was a bee at first! Very interesting and unusual.


On May 15, 2012, CinBern from Kenosha, WI wrote:

Just saw these amazing little creatures for the first time. Two of them were feeding feverishly on a blooming bush.Buzzing all around us while we watched. they were within arms reach of us just after dusk, so we could still see them well enough to know they were insect & not bird. We live in Southeast Wisc.


On Sep 13, 2011, Neotokyodoll from Roanoke, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I was getting ready to grab up a royal red butterfly bush at our local Lowe's when I spotted one of these guys. When I went to pick up the plant to put it in the cart he still chased after it. He followed me around for a little bit in the gardening center before he took off back to the other butterfly bushes. Adorable little guys. I'm gonna see what I can do to attract them to the yard next year :)


On Sep 5, 2011, hydey6 from Corunna, IN wrote:

At first I thought it was a humming bird. I discovered it late one night feeding on my petunias. It flew inches in front of my face and sort of startled me. It tends to look rather creepy but it loves my flowers!


On Aug 22, 2011, skovener from Crothersville, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

My granddaughter was visiting and her finger and toe nails were painted a bright fushia with little white flowers on her toenails. She came into the house one morning and said that some kind of strange bug had landed on her fingernail, it had a long tongue and left a sticky substance on the nail. She said that it wasn't a hummingbird and didn't think it was a moth. She came in two more times after it had landed on her finger again and also on her toe nail. She was not happy! Later in the day I saw it on one of my flowers. I had never seen one before! It looked like a cross between a hummingbird and a bumble bee! So glad I finally got to see one.


On Jun 27, 2011, Torfin from Pleasant Valley, MO wrote:

My wife and I thought that this gentle moth was actually a Bumble Bee. My wife took a bit of convincing that it was not something with a stinger. I noticed that it was actually a moth and after a little online research identified it as a Humming Bird Moth. A well earned name! I tried half a dozen times to get a picture of the wings to no avail.

I hope that we will continue to see this variety of moth around our garden. It is always very interesting that nature does not put all of its pollenation eggs in one basket.

This sighting occurred 06/27/11-1645 Springfield, MO


On Oct 12, 2010, shewhoplants from Tifton, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Soooooooo interesting and beautiful in their own way. My first encounter of seeing this moth was on Moon fFowers, here in Tifton, Georgia, where they come to feed at exactually the same time,(7:30p.m) every night. Always too late to photograph them for me. At times I have seen 4-5 moths feeding at one time. Now that I know that they do come out during the day I will start looking for them.


On Oct 3, 2010, growingranny from Dutton, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I never see them here until the hummingbirds have left for the season. Then I see them on my Butterfly Ginger every night. This is the 4th year I have seen them here. They may be the critter that eats tomato plants but I have yet to see one on any tomato plants here, and my tomatoes are gone for the year.


On Aug 23, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

These are very beautiful moths!!! They love my purple butterfly bush. I saw one of these when i was about 6 years old in my Mother's garden in Upstate New York, it used to come and visit Her garden every morning and hover around the red beebalm and echinacea she had. i now live in NC and the hummingbird moths that visit my butterfly bush are the first ones i've seen since i was a kid. very gentle looking for an insect also. really does look like a tiny hummingbird. mike.


On Aug 11, 2010, Kamelhaj32 from Baltimore, MD wrote:

Beautiful,mysterious moth! They seem to zero in on petunias. Body about 1" long but feeding tube about 1 1/2"! Seen em only at night. Faded bumblebee colors on body. At night, look like miniature angels hovering around. Are these rare?


On Aug 10, 2010, Francies26 from Greenwood, IN wrote:

I saw one of these little guys here in Greenwood, Indiana two years ago and despite keeping my eyes open, haven't seen one again until just a few minutes ago! It was checking out my geraniums, phlox and the drought stricken echinachea and black-eyed susans before heading off to the neighbor's. I wasn't quick enough to get a picture--yet! Very cool to see something so rare!


On Aug 8, 2010, TammyAndDarrel from Danville, IN wrote:

We've seen these on our white butterfly bushes in Danville, Hendricks Co, IN; and on my mother-in-law's in Indianapolis. I've only seen them on the white bushes, even though we also have pink and purple ones. These are really an interesting insect -- I was glad to find the information about them.


On Aug 7, 2010, jlampman from Bluffton, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

My husband and I were looking out the window at our butterfly bush. I saw what I thought might be a butterfly and my husband thought it was a hummingbird. We immediately came to the internet and found this site. It's great! We found out it was a hummingbird moth! What a surprise that a moth could look so much like a hummingbird. It was absolutely fascinating to watch. We never knew there were so many beautiful creatures out there!


On Jul 22, 2010, swlll from Mesquite, TX wrote:

I also thought this to be a small hummingbird when I first saw it. But as I studied it I realized that hummingbirds don't have antennae. Because of the wings with no scales I thought it to be some other kind of insect or bug. Never in my mind did I suspect it to be a moth. I finally discovered what it was as I was trying to identify a caterpiller I found in my butterfly garden and came across the pictures of the hummingbird clearwing moth and caterpiller. It is fascinating to watch it fly and feed around my garden. Discoveries like this make retirement exciting and educational.


On Jul 17, 2010, mulberryman from Daytona Beach, FL wrote:

I've had these appear in numbers at dusk feeding on the flowers of a (male) papaya. It is some comfort to know that although I won't get fruit, at least I get to watch these fascinating little creatures.


On Jul 15, 2010, pokegama from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

It was so unique to watrch.


On May 15, 2010, ggrayhabig from Greenfield Center, NY wrote:

I love to see this little bug as it looks like a miniture Humming Bird.


On Sep 11, 2009, kabmiller from Greensboro, NC wrote:

We saw these in our garden and after watching it for a while realized it must be a moth. I always thought moths came out at night and didn't realize they drink nectar. These are fun to watch. We got some great pictures. They don't seem to be too afraid of humans! We live in Greensboro, NC.


On Aug 5, 2009, mjglisson from Winterville, NC wrote:

August 4th was my first encounter with the hummingbird moth. I had never seen such a creature. We thought it was a bird at first but further research gave us the correct information. We were visiting Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson when we spotted the odd creature. My friend thought it was a hummingbird but I thought it was a bug. I didn't argue the point because I didn't know either but I had to know and thanks to this site I got my curiosity satisfied. We attempted several pictures but they are REALLY FAST.


On Jul 11, 2009, kathy_tss from Portage, WI wrote:

Saw this little guy zipping around the catmint & thought it was a hummingbird but - the antennae & legs just didn't look right. I remembered seeing info on the sphinx moth & started there trying to find the correct name. He was definitely more interesting than the buzzumbly bees that usually frequent this plant!


On Jun 28, 2009, burg1111 from Hollywood, FL wrote:

Just saw one last night hovering around the Red Firespike in the butterfly garden. My husband and I were fascinated! It was bright orange, but I couldn't get a good sighting on its wings. It buzzed right over my head, I had to duck so as to not get smacked. For a few hours we thought we had a hummingbird, but DG has set me straight. Super cool though! I really hope it comes back. We saw it at night though, not during the day.


On May 27, 2009, nicolel from Paxton, MA wrote:

I spent 15 minutes sitting next to one of my hanging plants on Memorial Day trying to figure out what I was seeing. My sister and I couldn't wait to Google this fascinating creature! It had clear wings with brown stripes on its body. Hopefully, it will make a return appearance.


On Jul 28, 2008, Sneirish from Swansea, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This awesome little guy fooled me last year into thinking he was the first hummingbird in my garden. My "smarty-pants" sister set me straight. So I was definitely ready and waiting for him to hit the Butterfly Bush again this year. And there he was on Friday and again today. I could ony get a back view photo, but it's still cool to have him around.


On Jul 28, 2008, kimpaige from Orlando, FL wrote:

We saw it when we were visiting our family home in Hermann, MO. It fooled us too! I thought it was quite beautiful and unusual - even after we figured out it was not a hummingbird. It really seemed to like hollyhocks.


On Jul 28, 2008, shtoll from Indianapolis, IN wrote:

I saw this moth last night (7/27/08 - Near 75th/Oaklandon, Indianapolis - near Geist.
Awesome moth. I happened to be 2 feet at eye level from it at 9:30 pm. Fairly dark and the moth was awesome. I thought it was a bat and then a moth then a hummingbird. I never heard or seen one in action. Truly awesome to watch.
Is this moth rare or anything?


On Jul 17, 2008, btonsch from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

I was out walking one day and couldn't believe what I saw: A strange moth-like creature feeding on a butterfly bush! I couldn't take my eyes off it! I knew it was some sort of moth or butterfly I had never seen before. To me, It looked like a flying shrimp! I logged onto Dave's garden to hopefully find out what this thing was, and needless to say I did, and am now a member. This moth is so strange and beautiful! I love it!


On Apr 27, 2008, art_n_anna from San Marcos, CA wrote:

... and one in San Marcos, CA, on the same day! I thought it was a different, smaller, variety of hummingbird, but not with those attennae!


On Apr 26, 2008, GardeniaDebby from Capistrano Beach, CA wrote:

I've never seen one of these before and then TWO of them were in the impatients, buzzing around. I also thought they were baby hummingbirds. One of the oddest and most interesting moths I have ever seen... and very pretty! So that is 2 California sightings, and from what I can tell they don't belong here. Hmmm.


On Apr 21, 2008, KBratton from Hot Springs National Park, AR wrote:

My husband and I noticed what we thought was a baby hummingbird on Saturday. Upon closer inspection we saw that it had antennae. This was curious, Humming Birds donít have antennae!! We werenít sure what we were looking at. By Sunday evening we had four of these little guys hovering all around the azalea bush in the front yard. The Hummingbirds were chasing each other around and away from the bushes and the feeder, but they didnít pay any attention to the little visitors. We found out what they are when we got into work this morning. Iím looking forward to watching them some more tonight and hopefully to get a few pictures of them.


On Mar 25, 2008, sannajane from Eureka, CA wrote:

I only saw one once, and was astonished. Now I look and see (so far) I'm the only California report! Way cool moth....


On Aug 14, 2007, makshi from Noblesville, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love the way it flies around and looks so much like a hummingbird. I find it beautiful.


On Jul 16, 2007, greencat from Heflin, AL wrote:

Somewhere I read that this is the moth (or a moth like it)that lays the egg for the tomato hornworm.


On Jun 22, 2007, joegee from Bucyrus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I was buzzed the other evening by one of these critters. I hadn't seen one in a while. It's nice to know they're around.


On Feb 7, 2007, bsharf from Palm Coast, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a unusual moth, in that it is active during the day. Most moths rest during the day.


On Sep 4, 2006, lafko06 from Brimfield, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:

At first I thought this was a baby hummingbird and have seen a few in my yard recently. It confused me and I googled hummingbirds and finally found out that it is actually a moth.


On Jul 31, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Since the caterpillar feeds on plants in the Honeysuckle family, this pretty moth will always have food here in west KY. Nicknamed the 'Hummingbird Moth' because of the similar flight habits, it is found in forest edges, meadows and cultivated flower gardens.

Found coast to coast in the north,and east of the Great Plainssouth to the Gulf. The adults like most flower nectar.

There are two generations a year.