From the monthly archives: "August 2003"

Hi Bugman,
I’m hoping you can help me identify this insect. My mom planted butterfly bushes this year, and as soon they bloomed we have noticed this cute character coming to feed from the blossoms, with the butterflies. There seems to only be one of them. At least we only see one at a time. I’m attaching a pic , and can send you a couple different views if you need them It hovers, kind of like a hummingbird over the flowers. We thought it was a baby hummingbird, until we got closer to it and seen that it had antennea. Could you please help us identify him?? or her??.
thanks,
tammy d

Dear Tammy,
It is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Hemaris thysbe, a type of Sphinx Moth. They are attracted to butterfly bush and are day flying moths often mistaken for hummingbirds or bees. Thank you for the great photo. We have received several letters but never an image.

There is a butterfly-type insect with a long proboscis that drinks flower nectar – it has clear wings that flutter so fast they are almost invisible. The tail has several pretty colors like yellow and red and green and looks like a fuzzy lobster tail. I can’t identify it in any insect book. Please help – I see them about 4 times a summer. Also thanks for the ID on the house centipede. I won’t kill them anymore. Have seen two for the first time in my house. elaine

Dear Elaine,
It is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Hemaris thysbe, a type of Sphinx Moth. It might also be the Snowberry Clearwing, a close relative. They are attracted to butterfly bush and are day flying moths often mistaken for hummingbirds or bees.

I live in near central Oklahoma near the SW side of OKC. We have lateral lines (picture, if you will, 4 human fingers) that extend out of our septic tank. These lateral lines disseminate throughout the ground. Which means we have four long lines of well fertilized grass. This month, those lines were extremely tall and thick. In them and flying over them were these humongous flying critters. They resembled the size of a bumblebee. They became very active when I came near the lines with the riding lawnmower. Because I couldn’t get close enough to identify them (I’m allergic to bees), I can give you a general description:
They are very “heavy” looking. The backs of them sort of had a darkblack/green sheen to them and the bottom sort of had the appearance of black and yellow although I cannot confirm this. I thought maybe they were bumblebees but I had not ever seen the dark green on a bumblebee before. Of course, I’ve only seen one bumblebee in my entire life.
There were at one time, over a hundred of these buggers flying lazily around over the grass. They concentrated in that area only. The rest of the yard was free from these insects. I didn’t know if they had built themselves a home in the grass or they were attracted to them. They did become a little more aggressive in their flying when I came near them.
However, once the tall grass was mowed down, they were gone. Have any idea what they might be?
April Harrington

Dear April,
Green June Beetles are large and green with yellow undersides. They are known to be extremely plentiful at times, especially where there is horse manure present. I would guess that your septic tank attracted them, and the eggs were laid in the rich soil. When they emerged, they did so in vast numbers. They are harmless, though somewhat frightening.

I live in near central Oklahoma near the SW side of OKC. We have lateral lines (picture, if you will, 4 human fingers) that extend out of our septic tank. These lateral lines disseminate throughout the ground. Which means we have four long lines of well fertilized grass. This month, those lines were extremely tall and thick. In them and flying over them were these humongous flying critters. They resembled the size of a bumblebee. They became very active when I came near the lines with the riding lawnmower. Because I couldn’t get close enough to identify them (I’m allergic to bees), I can give you a general description:
They are very "heavy" looking. The backs of them sort of had a darkblack/green sheen to them and the bottom sort of had the appearance of black and yellow although I cannot confirm this. I thought maybe they were bumblebees but I had not ever seen the dark green on a bumblebee before. Of course, I’ve only
seen one bumblebee in my entire life.
There were at one time, over a hundred of these buggers flying lazily around over the grass. They concentrated in that area only. The rest of the yard was free from these insects. I didn’t know if they had built themselves a home in the grass or they were attracted to them. They did become a little more aggressive in their flying when I came near them.
However, once the tall grass was mowed down, they were gone. Have any idea what they might be?
April Harrington

Dear April,
Green June Beetles are large and green with yellow undersides. They are known to be extremely plentiful at times, especially where there is horse manure present. I would guess that your septic tank attracted them, and the eggs were laid in the rich soil. When they emerged, they did so in vast numbers. They are harmless, though somewhat frightening.
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