From the monthly archives: "July 2011"

Moth? on Evening Primrose
Location: Bedford, VA
July 31, 2011 3:56 pm
This moth is visiting an evening primrose. This was happening after dark Bedford, VA during July after the evening primrose had blossomed out. It blooms out about in about a half hour after sunset and the moth is seen after dark. I thought it to be a hawk moth but could not specifically identify. Note the long beak.
Signature: Ben Shrader

Five Spotted Hawkmoth

Hi Ben,
What a positively marvelous photo of a Five Spotted Hawkmoth,
Manduca quinquemaculata, nectaring from an Evening Primrose.  The Five Spotted Hawkmoth is also called the Tomato Hornworm in the larval stage, and you might have found these large, green caterpillars with a caudal horn.  We had a bit of difficulty with this identification because the namesake yellow spots are ont visible because of the angle of the wings.  You can view The Sphingidae of the Americas for more information.

Thanks, I have several on a distribution list in which at least one of them had identified as you but this confirms with confidence.
Ben Shrader

July 31, 2011
Each month, on the fourth Sunday of the month, the Mt Washington Beautification Committee, co-hosted by Clare Marter Kenyon and Daniel Marlos, meets at 9:30 AM near the Red Barn in Elyria Canyon State Park.  Clare takes the lead with native plant germination in the nursery and Daniel goes out weeding in areas that need special attention.  This month the weeds that were targeted were invasive Conyza and an unidentified yellow thistle type plant.  Daniel is especially concerned about invasive weeds crowding out the native milkweed.  Elizabeth is seen pulling weeds from around the milkweed. 

                            CLICK TO ENLARGE                         Elyria Canyon Work Party August 28, 2011

There is a wealth of insect life on the milkweed.  Daniel saw two Monarch caterpillars of approximately the same age.  They were on two different plants about ten feet apart.

Monarch Caterpillar 20110731 AM

Two different caterpillars were photographed in the morning, but in the afternoon, only the one feeding on the leaves was photographed.  The other Monarch Caterpillar was feeding on blossoms.  The detail that is missing from the live experience in the static photo is the twitching of the front fleshy pseudo-antennae.

Monarch Caterpillar 20110731 PM

While they were not plentiful, adult Large Milkweed Bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, were found singly or in pairs on the blossoms. 

Large Milkweed Bugs

One pair was caught In Flagrante Delicto.

Large Milkweed Bugs Mating


…  And the last of the insects found on the Indian Milkweed, Asclapias eriocarpa, were the yellow Milkweed Aphids.

Milkweed Aphids are tended by Argentine Sugar Ants

If you live in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mt Washington, or nearby Highland Park, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock, South Pasadena, Atwater Villiage or Silverlake, and you want to volunteer some time on the fourth Sunday of August, come join us.  Most of our volunteers walk in from various entry points to Elyria Canyon Park, but there is one small parking lot at the end of Wollum Street near the intersection of Division Street.  Park in the lot and walk up the path.  When the path divides, take the right path and wind uphill through the trees.  When you get to the crest, you should be able to see the Red Barn down below.  Stay on the paths to avoid poison oak.  Take note that there is a gate on Bridgeport Drive, and we do not recommend parking there to drive to Elyria Canyon Park.  If you would like additional information, please leave a comment.




Clearwing moth? which one
Location: Chester New Jersey
July 30, 2011 8:56 am
Is this a Clearwing Snowberry or a clearwing Humingbird.
I think it is a Snowberry but Iam not very good at this
Don Christian
Signature: Don Christian

Hummingbird Clearwing

Hi Don,
In our opinion, this is a Hummingbird Clearwing, and we are basing that on the light legs and the coloration of the back of the insect.  The best place to identify Sphinx Moths is the Sphingidae of the Americas website, then go to Sphingidae of the United States, and you can categorize by state, and by going the the New Jersey sightings, you will learn that there are three different species of diurnal Sphinxes in the genus
Hemaris that have been reported in New Jersey.  We believe this diurnal sphinx most closely resembles Hemaris thysbe, the Hummingbird Clearwing.

Hummingbird Clearwing


White feathery insect
Location: Biggsville, Il.
July 29, 2011 4:47 pm
I saw this small white angel shaped insect in the shade garden on July 10th. I have seen it since then but it was flying or better said floating in the wind. It is about a 1/4” in length. I apologize for the clarity of the picture. Thanks for your help in advance.
Signature: Randy Anderson

Woolly Aphid

Hi Randy,
This is a Woolly Aphid in the subfamily Eriosomatinae, and we do not have the necessary skills to identify it to the species level, but you may compare your image to this photo on BugGuide.  It is the end of the month, and we frequently get requests to identify a small white fairy insect, and many times no photos are included because Woolly Aphids are so tiny.  We have decided to feature your photo as our Bug of the Month for August 2011, and we won’t go live with the posting until tomorrow.

name that bug
Location: bel air maryland
July 30, 2011 2:40 pm
Found this creep on my deck…any help on what it is?
Signature: lisa c

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Nymph mimics knot hole

Hi Lisa,
We are terribly amused by your photo because this Brown Marmorated Stink Bug nymph appears to be mimicking the knot hole in your deck.  Here is a photo from BugGuide for comparison.  According to BugGuide, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is:  “
native to Asia (a crop pest), adventive and spreading in NA: introduced near Allentown, PA now abundant from NJ to MD, also in OR, CA, WA.”  We frequently get complaints from folks in Maryland that adult Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs enter homes in the fall to hibernate, sometimes in prodigious numbers.

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth??
Location: Saxtons River, Vermont
July 31, 2011 7:00 am
Hi Daniel,
The guy was darting around in my vast stands of bee balm yesterday. I searched your site and initially believed it’s a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, but I’m not certain. Is that correct?
Signature: K L Thalin

Snowberry Clearwing

Hi Daniel,
Karen Thalin here, from Saxtons River, Vermont.
I JUST sent you a (two photo) submission on the web site of what I THINK is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, taken by me in my gardens yesterday. I was again looking through all my pix after hitting the “send” button, and realized that I had this one, which shows the color very well, even though the image is a bit blurry. This guy seems to be a little different than the HCM photos I’ve looked at on your site. It has bumble bee coloring. I’m not sending THIS email/photo to be published, but only to give you another view of the moth, if that will help with identifying it.

Snowberry Clearwing

Hi Karen,
The best place to identify Sphinx Moths is on The Sphingidae of the Americas website because you can search by individual states.  There are three species of diurnal Sphinx Moths in the genus
Hemaris listed for Vermont, and we believe you have photographed the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth, Hemaris diffinis.  The Hummingbird Clearwing is another member of the genus.  The Snowberry Clearwing is described on The Sphingidae of the Americas as being:  “a very variable species, but almost always the abdomen sports contrasting black and yellow hairs, the ventral surface being quite black. The legs also tend to be quite dark and there is a black mask running across the eye and along the sides of the thorax.” 

Thank you, Daniel! It’s funny because after I sent this submission this morning, I saw a true Hummingbird Clearwing Moth in the same stand of bee balm! It was difficult to get a clear short, but this one is clearly very different than the Snowberry. I checked my photo against those on the site you recommended, and it certainly looks to be the HCM. They are found all along the east coast in way up into Canada.
Thanks, again.

Hi Karen,
We are happy you mentioned the Bee Balm, a species of
Monarda, one of the best flowers to plant for both pollinating insects like butterflies and diurnal Sphinx Moths as well as real hummingbirds.