This story was initially printed in July 2021.
Look shut, that hummingbird you thought you simply noticed flitting round your flowers or vegetation is probably not a hummingbird. In actual fact, it is probably not a chook in any respect. You could be one of many state’s largest moths — the hummingbird moth.
As its identify implies, the hummingbird moth flies and strikes similar to hummingbirds. The moths can stay suspended in place within the air and their quickly beating wings even make them sound like hummingbirds. Like a hummingbird, the moth has an extended tongue it makes use of to sip nectar from inside flowers.
In accordance with Jim Dill, pest administration specialist at College of Maine Cooperative Extension, the hummingbird moth is pretty frequent in Maine, however is exclusive as it’s energetic and flying through the day.
“Individuals will usually see them and say, ‘Oh look, a hummingbird,’” Dill mentioned. “Then they appear nearer and say, ‘That’s a wierd wanting hummingbird.’”
The hummingbird moths are plumpish and reddish brown in colour. The ideas of their tails open up right into a fan and their wings are translucent. Whereas not a real pollinator, they do unfold a little bit of no matter pollen will get caught to them as they transfer from flower to flower.
In accordance with Dill, these lengthy tongues permit the hummingbird moth to feed on the nectar long-necked flowers that different bugs can’t attain.
“They love flox,” Dill mentioned. “You probably have flox you’ll usually see them flitting throughout it.”
So far as moths go, Dill mentioned the hummingbird moth is among the many extra innocuous. It doesn’t sting or chew. It’s larvae do feed on leaves and different vegetation, however he mentioned they’re so small that even that causes no actual injury to vegetation.