I’ve been seeing lots of moths in my garden lately. Some fly out of the flower bed and land on the fence while I am watering the garden; others I’ve found nectaring on the flowers. It’s nice to know that even if I don’t see very many butterflies in my yard, other members of the Order Lepodoptera have found it to their liking!
There are lots of flowers in bloom now: Scarlet Sage, Bee Balm, Morning Glories, a few Scarlet Runner Beans, Butterfly Weed, Cleome and Veronica. So far I haven’t seen any insects at the Cleome, while the Veronica is a pollinator magnet. Lots of insects are drawn to the Butterfly Weed and Bee Balm as well.
This fellow flew out of the grass one evening and landed on the underside of the fence. It is related to the Bog Lygropia I found in my garden last year and reportedly flies during the day as well as at night.
The Nutmeg is widespread, occurring throughout North America, including Alaska and the Northwest Territories. Caterpillars feed on more than 30 species of woody and herbaceous plants, including clover, several garden vegetables, several plants in the mustard family, elm, and poplar.
I found this Common Looper Moth nectaring on some Bee Balm one afternoon. It was difficult to identify, as it is quite worn. Its larvae feed on a variety of herbs, asters and plantain.
Common Looper Moth
Common Looper Moth
I have no idea what this pretty insect is; it landed on a furled up Cleome petal and flew off before I could get more than one photograph. From this angle it is difficult to determine even what type of insect it is.
In contrast, this katydid I found on the fence was quite large! I’d seen grasshoppers in our yard, and have heard crickets, but this is the first katydid I have seen!
A new species of bee has been visiting my yard! I find these Tri-coloured Bumble Bees quite pretty. I have only seen one twice now, and even beyond my yard I see them less often than the regular black and yellow bumble bees.
Tri-coloured Bumble Bee
This year I bought a mixed variety of morning glory seeds. I have two different shades of flowers this year…deep bluish-purple and pink. The pink ones seem to shrivel up faster, so I have only been able to photograph the purple ones.
I was delighted when I saw this tiny orange moth on my Bee Balm one day. It is related to the Raspberry Pyrausta Moth, which I’ve also seen in my garden again this summer, although I haven’t been able to photograph it.
Orange Mint Moth on Bee Balm
If you look closely, you can see a tiny spider hiding beneath the flower head in this picture:
Orange Mint Moth
All of the above moths are new to my garden this year, but this one isn’t. I saw this small moth last year in my garden, also in late July. It is a common species that can be found in woodland edges, parks, and meadows from May to September. Larvae feed on goldenrod and smartweed; last year I discovered smartweed growing in my back garden, which may explain why I’ve seen this moth species two years in a row now.
It always amazes me that there is such a wide variety of insect species in my tiny backyard. I think I must be doing something right if the same species are returning year after year, possibly to breed, while new ones show up each summer!