What’s that funny-looking bee?

I plant flowers and shrubs that are appealing to birds, bees and butterflies. A few years ago, I planted Bee Balm for the hummingbirds. They love it! Yesterday I noticed two “odd” insects feeding at the Bee Balm and the nearby Phlox.

hummingbird moth

They are called Hummingbird Moths. It was hard to get a good pic of them as just like hummingbirds, they are in constant movement. According to link to the Forest Service, they also like Phlox. I happen to have Phlox planted next to the Bee Balm so they may think they stumbled on a smorgasbord. Per the Forest Service pics, I think the two I saw are the Snowberry Clearwing version.

bee balm & phlox

A word of caution if planning to install Bee Balm – that’s not mentioned in plant web sites. The above plant started as a small single 3″ plant pot. In the 3 years since, I’ve had to divide, give away, plant in other places, as it spreads quite a bit after it’s cut down when the flowers subside. I didn’t know it spread like that! So my suggestions are:

  • Put it in a spot where it can be visible during its blooming time which is 3-4 weeks on either side of July 4. It’s VERY spectacular.
  • Put it behind other shorter plants that will hide the empty space once you have to cut it down after blooming. It’s rather ugly after blooming.
  • Put it in a space where the underground roots can allow it to enlarge but won’t encroach on other plants. It’s not too invasive but can double/triple in size underground after blooming. Dividing is easy and can control the size as the roots aren’t deep.

You can have your neighbors asking “what IS that bright red flower”!

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