I’ve been seeing a lot of photos and videos this summer of these fascinating creatures on Facebook and other social media. Many of the posts include the question: What is this???
No, it’s not a hummingbird, even though it resembles one, creates a humming sound with its wings and hovers around flowers like a hummingbird. It is a hummingbird moth, so named because … well, you can figure that out, I’m sure. Although it’s hard to tell without a side-by-side comparison, hummingbird moths are smaller than hummingbirds. A hummingbird moth is about two inches long and a hummingbird is a bit longer than three inches, but also much more bulky.
Look for hummingbird moths at the same flowers you’d expect to see butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterfly bush is a backyard favorite for hummingbird moths.
A hummingbird moth sips nectar with its long proboscis, a tongue-like sucking organ, which can be double the length of the moth. The photo below shows the proboscis rolled up.