Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moths
Location: Cedarpines park California
April 21, 2017 11:22 pm
It was nighttime it was on my house very beautiful
Signature: Tina McClellan

Whitelined Sphinx

Dear Tina,
Your report is the third posting we have created today of a Whitelined Sphinx sighting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: White Lined Sphinx Moth?
Location: California
April 21, 2017 11:47 pm
I believe this is a White Lined sphinx, based on pictures I saw, but if there is a species that looks similar to the White Lined, I’d be curious to know what this really is. I also posted this a while back: https://www.whatsthatbug.com/2013/10/21/carolina-sphinx-11/ We used to get these Carolina sphinx moths for a little while before they seemed to stop coming around, and now we are seeing a few of these White Lined sphinx moths. (most likely what this is) Could it be possible that these White Lined sphinx ran the Carolina sphinx out of town?
Signature: Brittany

Whitelined Sphinx

Dear Brittany,
You are correct that this is a Whitelined Sphinx.  We doubt that it has displaced the Carolina Sphinx as the caterpillars have different food sources.  Caterpillars of the Carolina Sphinx, known as Tobacco Hornworms, feed on the leaves of tomato and related plants.  If no one is growing tomato plants near you, you will not have the adult moths nearby.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Huge moths
Location: Southern California Santa Monica area near ocean but no lakes or standing water
April 21, 2017 8:23 pm
I get these every now and then they can get very large. They usually land in or near my one light and expire there. Any idea what they are?
Signature: Paul

Whitelined Sphinx

Actually, I ended up digging it up myself. They are apparently some very common species called Sphynx White Stripe Moth or something to that effect. The record I saw says they get big and they are not kidding. You could easily mistake the larger ones for a small bird. Says also they are continent wide in North America but I’ve only ever seen them in Santa Monica. No need to spend your time looking it up but nice service you have.
Paul

Whitelined Sphinxes

Dear Paul,
We are happy to learn you were able to self-identify your Whitelined Sphinx Moths.  They are currently flying in Southern California.  We had four at our porch light in nearby Mount Washington in Los Angeles early this morning, and one day earlier in the week there were seven.  We suspect the wet winter allowed more plant growth to feed the caterpillars, hence more moths have developed and are currently in flight.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: moth
Location: Merced, Ca 95340
April 8, 2017 1:48 pm
Found this moth in Merced, CA, 95340 this morning clinging to a fence.
Signature: Tom Tanioka

Sphinx Moth: Smerinthus ophthalmica

Dear Tom,
This Sphinx Moth is in the genus
Smerinthus, and there are several similar looking members of the genus.  We believe your individual is Smerinthus ophthalmica because of your Central California location.  According to BugGuide:  “Smerinthus ophthalmica occurs from southern British Columbia and southern Alberta south to near the border with Mexico. It is replaced by S. cerisyi to the east and north, and S. saleceti in the southern-most Rocky Mountains and southern Arizona.”  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  ” S. ophthalmica flies across southern British Columbia and southern Alberta into southwestern Saskatchewan.  In the United States it can be found in Washington, Oregon and northern and central California eastward into Idaho, western Montana, western Wyoming and northern Nevada and northern Utah.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Lost in Texas or native?
Location: SanAntonio, Texas
March 19, 2017 9:14 am
I think I’ve got the same moth here in San Antonio, Texas…but what I read doesn’t list Texas for it’s home area….
Signature: Katettt

Tersa Sphinx

Dear Katettt,
This Tersa Sphinx is a native species in Texas, based on the distribution map on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Death’s-Head Hawkmoth in Dubai
Location: Dubai, UAE
February 6, 2017 6:47 am
Hi there!
We have a big black moth on our balcony in Dubai. It has been laying there for over a week. Every now and then it moves positions on our long balcony, but it doesn’t seem to want to leave.
We nudged it a couple of times with a broom and it is definitely alive as its wings opened up a little, but it quickly curled back and went back to rest.
After taking pictures on my camera and looking at images online, I came to the conclusion that it is the Death’s-Head Hawkmoth. But I am still unsure.
My question is, why is it absolutely still? It doesn’t move at all! At the moment, it is hiding most of its body under a pile of wood and has been there for 2-3 days. Is it hibernating or about to give birth? What is the best way to get rid of it? If it is pregnant, I am not very keen on having a bunch of caterpillars around, as I do have a massive phobia of insects!!
At the moment, the weather here ranges from 20-25 Celcius during the day to 15-20 Celcius at night.
Thanks for your help! 🙂
Signature: Anisha

Death’s Head Hawkmoth

Dear Anisha,
Though your image does not include the distinctive, namesake, skull-like markings on the thorax of this Death’s Head Hawkmoth, the markings on the wings and abdomen do indicate your identification is correct.  According to the BBC:  “Unlike other moths, death’s-head hawkmoths mostly eat honey, which is thick and gloopy compared to nectar. So Brehm thinks the moths modified their sucking action to allow the viscous honey to flow freely. … To get honey, death’s-head hawkmoths enter the hives of honeybees (
Apis mellifera).”  According to UK Safari:  “The larvae feed on potato plants, Buddleia and Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna).”  Unless you have those plants on your balcony, you will not be seeing caterpillars.  After emergence from the pupa, the adult moth takes flight.  Flying takes a tremendous amount of energy and the moth must feed in order to be able to continue flying.  Perhaps this individual is waiting to attract a mate before taking flight again to lay eggs on the appropriate host plant.  If there is a light on your balcony, this moth might have been attracted to the light.  We do not provide extermination advice.

Hi Daniel!
Thanks so much for getting back to me!
Funny thing is, we do have a light on the balcony, but we almost never turn it on, it’s a really faint light thats pretty useless to us, so we don’t bother with it. However there is a floodlight on the facade of the building right next to our flat, that is sometimes turned on, so that might be what attracted it to us.
The only plants we have out there are cactus, some desert plants and one hibiscus.
I guess I’m wondering how long it will stay on our balcony, and if we were to take it to the edge, would it be able to fly?
I am constantly nervous going out there, so I’m trying to figure out a cruel free way of removing it! 🙂
Thanks!
Anisha

Our personal experience with moths in the family is that they may remain a few days, but eventually, when they are ready, they fly off.  It you don’t use the balcony, just let nature take its course.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination