SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS MATING ON SUNFLOWERS!

Reader DB sent in this terrific capture of a pair of Snowberry Clearwing Moths mating on her sunflowers.

Another name for the Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis) is Bumblebee Moth. Snowberry Clearwings are in the same family as Hummingbird Clearwing Moths (Hemaris thysbe). Snowberry Moths have yellow and black colors similar to Bumblebees while Hummingbird Clearwings, which are reddish brown and green, look more like Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

If you would like to attract clearwing moths to your garden, plant plenty of nectar-rich flowers that bloom in July especially. And even more importantly, plant the caterpillar food plants. The females deposit their eggs on honeysuckles, viburnums, blueberries, snowberry, and members of the rose family.

Another way to help clearwing moths is to NOT tidy up your garden in the fall. As is the case with so many species of Lepidoptera, and other insects, they overwinter in the leaf litter at the base of plants. Snowberry Clearwing Moths emerge in late spring and early summer from cocoons hidden in leaves.


Snowberry Clearwing Moth

BUTTERFLY BLUE

One of the teeniest butterflies you’ll see at this time of year is the Spring Azure, with a wing to wing span of less than one inch. Found in meadows, fields, gardens, and along the forest edge, the celestial blue flakes pause to drink nectar from clover, Quaker Ladies, crabapples, dandelions, and whatever tiny floret strikes her fancy.

You can find the Azures flitting about Crabapple blossoms.

Native wildflowers Quaker Ladies, also called Bluets, are an early season source of nectar for Azures.

If you’d like to attract these spring beauties to your garden, plant native flowering dogwood * (Cornus florida), blueberries, and viburnums; all three are caterpillar food plants of the beautiful Spring Azure Butterfly.

The female butterfly curls her abdomen around in a C-shape and deposits eggs amongst the yellow florets of the flowering dogwood. Pink or white, both are equally attractive to the Spring Azure.

Cornus florida ‘rubra’

*Only our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a caterpillar food plant for Azure butterflies. Don’t bother substituting the non-native Korean Dogwood, it won’t help the pollinators.

Native Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) at Willowdale Estate Butterfly Garden