While working out in the garden area near the pond this past week, I became distracted by these somewhat large creatures zipping around the purple flowers in the pasture. We’ve had hummingbirds show up before and hover around our red tractor, so I thought perhaps some hummingbirds had arrived and were taking advantage of nectar from the small purple flowers growing in the pasture. They were difficult to get close to, but after catching several glimpses of these things, they seemed a bit oddly shaped and colored even for a hummingbird.
Lucky me remembered to bring my cell phone to the pasture with me and I followed these things around until I got a picture that wasn’t just a big blur or grass. When one of these creatures finally stopped long enough, I could see that it had a very long, thin “straw” extending from its body and was inserting it into the purple flowers to drink nectar.
I have never seen one of these in person or in a book, but I could recognize that it was something in the butterfly/moth category but not what specific kind it was. Fortunately for me, I have a husband that not only has a lot of nature knowledge from personal interests, but a hubby that has degrees where he learned all kinds of nature-y stuff. No sense in wasting all his knowledge. After all, we paid a fortune for him to obtain it :)A few pushes of the buttons on my phone, and the photo zipped through the air across the miles and landed on hubby’s phone. And once again, hubby came through with an answer via text message. The unidentified flying object in the photo is a Sphinx Moth.
A Sphinx Moth. Neat. It’s really pretty. I’m glad to know what it is. Then came the bad news from hubby.
This nifty thing:
Is actually one of these:
Well, that was kind of depressing news. That beautiful thing zipping around the pasture is going to be a pest to contend with once the garden gets put in. Not to mention that the feel of one of those fat green worms between your fingers as you try to pull them off your tomatoes when they have a death grip on your plant is REALLY disgusting! I’ve actually squished them in my hand trying to get them to let go of my tomato plants before. Blech.
Ah well, I have learned something. I know what the moth looks like. I know what the worm looks like. And while I find the moth a beautiful part of nature, at least I know where those grubby caterpillars come from and will work hard to protect the tomatoes from day one of planting since they have arrived in the area before I planted.
And hopefully I will remember to stuff some rubber gloves in my pockets when I go to the garden so I have something between my skin and those things when I pick them off the tomato plants and throw them to the chickens.
So if you have been wondering what the other life cycle of those pesky tomato pests look like, now you know! And if you’re planting tomatoes, look for them. They’ll be coming to a neighborhood near you soon. 🙂