How to Attract Hummingbird Moths


Hummingbird moths are one of nature's delights and can be seen in daylight hours buzzing around many of the same nectar plants that real hummingbirds feed from. These tiny members of the Sphingidae family of moths -- most are less than 3.5 inches in length -- are often found in the United States and are a delight to watch. Two main American species include the hummingbird clearwing, Hemaris thysbe, and the white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata.

Some have olive to golden-olive upper bodies and yellow backs with dark burgundy bellies. Their young pupate in cocoons spun at the soil surface. Attracting these interesting insects means planting nectar flowers to attract the adults, and feeder flowers for the young. The garden that results can create a delightful space in your yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Plant food
  • Trowel
  • Gloves
  • Nectar plants
  • Feeder plants
  • Identify which plants that attract hummingbird moths will grow in your area by making a list of desired plants and either searching on the Web or by visiting your local garden center. Some ideas include lilac, beebalm, red clover, phlox, vetch and thistle to attract adults and Japanese honeysuckle, hawthorn and cherry or plum trees for the young to grow in.

  • Make a drawing of your intended garden, taking into consideration the growth habit of each plant on your list, and placing it accordingly -- remember to plant a mixture of plants that will both attract adult moths and feed their young.

  • Purchase your selections at your local garden store.

  • Churn up your garden site with a shovel or create a raised bed. The raised-bed method will require adding soil at least 10 inches deep.

  • Dig holes for each plant at least twice the size of the root ball. Add a bit of slow-release plant food before placing each plant into the hole and gently firming soil around it.

  • Thoroughly water-in the plants once placed in the soil by drenching the dirt around them.

Tips & Warnings

  • When choosing suitable plants that will not only enhance your landscape but also attract the hummingbird moths, you need to consider your garden's location, amount of sun and type of soil you have. Establish a relationship with your local garden supply store so you can become educated about the specific requirements of your area that will affect plant species, planting schedule and garden site planning.
  • Using herbicides and insecticides can kill your host plants and the animals that visit them.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images Images Hemera Technologies/ Images Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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