by Nancy (Rehoboth, MA USA)


Frequenting my butterfly bushes and bee balm is an inordinately large bee – you can see its wings fluttering just like a hummingbird.A neighbor told me it is a “hummingbird bee”. This must be a common name, since I have been unable to find this name in searches I have done. There is an Asian bee that looks the size, but according to what I read, it is not in North America. I am in southeastern Mass. USA

Thanks! I love it when I see this handsome bee, but have no idea about its origins! ~ Nancy

hummingbird-bees-1Hi Nancy

I’ve heard of a Bee Hummingbird but never a Hummingbird Bee. I’m afraid I don’t know for certain what this is, if you have a photo of it I’d love to see it.

I was able to find a few references to, and the photo above by kind permission of FrAnthony, something which might fit your description.

It’s not really a bee, but a moth, and is certainly an interesting looking insect. If anyone else knows anything about this I’d love to hear from them. Contact Us.

70 Responses to “Hummingbird Bees”

  • nancyroadrunr@aol.com'

    Nancy

    I just saw the hummingbird bee moth in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. I have never seen one before, wondering if it was a bee or a hummingbird.

    Thrilled to have seen it!

  • harperagdec@gmail.com'

    Allen

    I saw one of these hummingbird bees for the first time ever yesterday, here in the Shenandoah Valley, Edinburg, VA, in a very rural area.

  • sburke59@hotmail.com'

    Steven Burke

    Got a half dozen in Bucks County, Pennsylvania near Lake Nockamixon.

    I have been here over 20 years and I have NEVER seen one before.

    Will send Pic to photos@bees-on-the-net.com

    Note Pic is “Geo-tagged” with location.

    • ray.shirleyg@gmail.com'

      Shirley

      Saw one yesterday here in Oklahoma City feeding from our phlox. It didn’t seem to mind our presence and we respected its space. Have never seen one before. Very special event.

  • jec753@hotmail.com'

    Jane

    We noticed a hummingbird bee in Ashtabula, OH feeding on our impatients. We just watched him & he was not bothered by us as he went from flower to flower.

  • Dmcjmk@comcast.net'

    Donna

    I walked outside this afternoon and caught site of one of these hummingbird/bee/moths. Wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing. It was drinking from my vinca flowers. I too wondered if maybe I was seeing a baby hummingbird. Came inside and googled hummingbird bee and found this site. I had never seen one before. Feel pretty special to have seen one today here in Elkridge, Maryland about 10 minutes outside of Baltimore.

  • GPGM62@ATT.NET'

    John

    I have at least a half a dozen or more of these “humming bird bees” all over my garden, especially around my buddleia. I live in South Carolina.

  • Debbie

    My husband and I have seen these moths for several years in Arkansas….and I was so amazed to find out that they were not actually bees! Also happy because I am allergic to bees and wasps..Now I will leave them in peace and just enjoy them!

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Nancy Again

    Thanks so much. The YouTube video gave me chills – that is exactly the creature that I see.

    On looking up varieties, I see many vibrant-colored ones, but the one I see is the color of the one videoed on YouTube. What a perfect song accompaniment.

    Is this FrAnthony’s video? I didn’t see any credits. Whomever did it – Thank you so very much – you made my day, especially since it is rainy windy (again) here in New England. “April (March?) showers bring May flowers”. The Forsythia sooner – Halleluiah!

    PS. I am a poet, and the Hummingbird Clearwing (nee Bee) is a part of a summer poem I am writing called “Jubilee”. Now it is clarified. A fantastic website here. Spring Blessings.

    • anon@beesonthenet.com'

      Geoff

      Thanks Nancy

      The video was by SkiDiveGuy. I hope you’ll send us the poem when it’s finished, to include here.

      The Bee Guy

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Glenn Repass

    I have seen these many times where I live. We always called them Fairy Bees. They are realy called clear winged moths.

    I use to catch when I was a kid so I’ve studied them very closely. I have always loved them.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    I was at my mom’s yesterday in Ontonagon, MI and she had two of these little critters in her purple floxs. What an interesting little thing.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Rick

    Just saw one (in amazement) at a party in Wisconsin August 20th… I thought someone had drugged my beer.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    I also have many of these little bees and a neighbor told me they were called Humming Bird Bees. They go to the flowers I have plant for butterflies.
    I’m in South Florida.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Leslie Todd

    In Texas too

    These bees or whatever are very busy on my sage right now. I’m in north Texas. They move so fast and continuously that they are very difficult to photograph.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    I also live in southern WI. and I saw one a few years ago and thought I was crazy. Until today when my daughter and husband both saw it with me.

    Hey I’m not crazy after all. So is it a bee or a moth?

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Monica

    Hey people say these little gems are only in the U.S of A; no they are not! We have them in Burks Falls Ontario. That’s right the true north Ontario!

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Bonnie

    Colorful as a Male Hummingbird.

    Yes, I have seen the hummingbird bee and it is as colorful as a male hummingbird.

    It doesn’t come every year but it is the smartest bee I have ever seen. I would love to hear from other people who have the vistors.

    Thanks, Bonnie

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Jennifer

    I live in Laurel, Mississippi and I have seen them here. I think that they are so cute. I love to watch them. Haven’t seen one in awhile though.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Judy T

    I live in PA, and have a huge butterfly bush. I just saw one of these awesome creatures today, on the bush!! I took pictures of and googgled it and found your site!

    • anon@beesonthenet.com'

      Geoff

      Hi Judy

      You’re very lucky, I’d love to see one. How did the pictures turn out?

      The Bee Guy

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Judy T

    I shared your site on Facebook and uploaded a picture, but I’m not sure how to send one here.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Lynn

    Sighted in NY

    I live in Binghamton, NY which is about 20 minutes from the PA border. My mom and dad started seeing two hummingbird bees about a week or so ago. They said it looked like a cross between a humming bird and a cray fish. I thought they had had a little too much sun since their gardens are frequented often by humming birds.

    I finally saw what they had were talking about yesterday! The front end looks just like a male humming bird, vibrantly colored. The back end without being able to get a closer look is reminiscent of the articulated body of a cray fish or bee. We’re wrong on both counts since it turns out to be a moth. A very interesting little critter! I’m going to research it a little more now that I know it is a moth. :>)

    • anon@beesonthenet.com'

      Geoff

      Hi Lynn

      I’m pleased to hear your parent’s garden isn’t also frequented by crayfish.

      The Bee Guy

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    D Flynn C Rose

    My friend and I saw this bee/moth where we live in central Vermont. Does anyone know if they make cacoons, or anything else about them?

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Liz

    We live in the Kingston Ontario area (Southeastern Ontario Canada) and my husband saw at least 4 of these amazing critters today in our flower garden feeding at the purple hosta flowers.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Brenda

    Saw a Hummingbird Bee in Annapolis, MD

    We were at a nursery, admiring the petunias. There was a bee, buzzing and drinking from the flowers. When I looked more closely – he looked like a cross between a hummingbird and a bee. He was very brave – we were very close to him, observing and it didn’t seem to bother him at all. It was really astonishing.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Shannon

    Just spotted in Maine! Southern Maine Coast. I saw this hummingbird/bee at my flowers in the window box. Long “tongue” for sticking into flowers, large wings and long body. colors of the body where black and yellow, like a bee and fuzzy! I simply typed in “hummingbird bee” in google search and this is the first site I found! Interesting creature!

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Thelma

    My husband and I just saw them. I have flower boxes all around our deck to attract hummingbirds and tonight was the second time we’ve seen them! I thought it was some kind of a baby hummingbird. I’m glad I found this website!

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Karen

    I have seen the humming bird bee in my garden in North Western New Jersey. I never knew what it was until recently when a friend told me. I just saw one today. They are so beautiful! Would like to know more about them.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Holly

    We live in Bradford PA near the NY/PA border. We have many flowers on our property including two butterfly bushes. This year we saw these funny little creatures for the first time.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Louise

    Have a Hummingbird Bee in Bayville NJ

    I just took pictures of this strange bird/bee on my butterfly bush. I wasn’t sure what it was and posted its’ picture on facebook. Someone responded that it was a Hummingbird Bee. Came on your site and can verify that that is what I have. I have some great photos if you’re interested.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    I grew up in near Akron Ohio… and at the age of 10 my mother would make me weed her gardens. She had a big beautiful purple butterfly bush. while walking by one day I noticed what I thought was a hummingbird.. I looked closer… and noticed it looked like a big bee but it was also birdlike.

    I was very curious and would often go search for this bug… one day I came up right behind it and actually caught one in a jar! I layed the jar down on the porch.. and after analyizing it… decided to open the lid… as I did it flew away and I’ve never seen one since!

    I am now thrilled to have found your picture and know I wasnt crazy… because there are bee hummingbirds!

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    JAppolin

    I live in Pasadena MD I’ve seen humming bird bees when I was a kid in th 80′s but haven’t seen one in years. Then the other day there were two of them around our butterfly bush. I don’t know if it was the mild winter we had last year or what, but I hope they come back.

    [Wow I was excited for a minute when I saw Pasadena I thought you'd seen one in California.

    The Bee Guy]

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Susan

    Was so glad to read all the comments on this strange looking insect. I live in Alabama and have had these curious little creatures in my flower garden for several years now.

    At first I thought I was finally seeing a baby hummingbird but on closer inspection I realized that was not it at all. Love to watch them and they love my butterfly bushes, so no matter what it actually is, just watch and enjoy.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Martin. Kiraly

    I live in the village of Blaby, Leicestershire U.K.
    I too have “Bees” visiting my garden which behave like the Hummingbird Hawk moth, I have seen a hummingbird hawk moth which is a fair bit larger than the “hovering” Bee which is about 12 to 15 mm long. The Bee also has shorter mouth parts (beek) which is only about half its body length, with transparent wings. It`s flight is very precise and controlled – unlike a common bee !!, I will try to get photo/video of one to post on this page. Maybe we can then solve this mystery.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Martin. Kiraly

    I think that some of the sightings of “Hummingbird” bees are actually a large fly of the family BOMBYLIIDAE, which is also common in Europe and can be identified on wikipedia. Also there is a moth called the “Hummingbird” Hawk Moth, which has a longer proboscis and a “fantail” rear end. resembling a hummingbird,
    I hope that this clears-up some of the mysteries of what you have seen in your gardens. Birds, Flies And Moths adopting the same technique of feeding during flight. AMAZING !!

    BEST REGARDS TO ALL

    Martin.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Dave

    I don’t know if it’s bird, bee or moth but one showed up this morning in the hanging plant I have to attract hummingbirds. Looks as the pictures/video, but is camera shy so far here. I am on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, just north of Rochester, New York.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    We are in New Hampshire. My girls saw one on our walk today. I was pleased to be able to tell them it was a “Hummingbird Bee” glad that we saw it.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    I’ve been getting something like this visiting my phlox for the past couple of summers. I don’t have a picture, though. It never seems to mind when my kids or I hang out nearby when it’s visiting.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Kristine

    I live in southern Illinois and have seen several of the hummingbird bees all over my petunias and butterfly bush. I took a chance and typed in hummingbird bee in google and landed here to find the picture and description that it is really a moth. Thanks to all who have posted information and pictures.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Terry Anderson

    I live in South Central PA, and a couple years ago, when I still had my 2 big mimosa trees, I had these creatures. At first I thought they were some sort of baby hummingbird, but we caught one and realized it wasn’t. We had no idea what they were. Glad I saw this sight…now I know what they were! Thanks!

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Patricia

    Whatever these insects actually are… they are in New York… We use to see hummingbirds, not many anymore. For the last few years they have been all over my butterfly bush as soon as it begins to bloom. :)

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    Kentucky sighting:

    I see theses amazing looking hummingbird bees from time to time in my back yard around my butterfly bush. At first I thought it was a very small humming bird, but the closer I looked, you can see the difference.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    bobobill

    I saw one of these flittering around my white Phlox, I live in western Michigan. How rare are these?

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Sherry

    I enjoy flower gardening and each year I have one of these amazing creatures visit my flowers daily during summer warm months.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Jessi Hewig

    Sighting for the second time this summer in Evansville, IN! I got a picture this time too.
    It loves the tall phlox, so I’ll be planting plenty more next year.

    [Hi Jessi

    If you send the photo to me I'd love to post it.

    The Bee Guy]

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Noreen

    I recently saw this in my garden in Fortune, Prince Edward Island, Canada and the next night there was a picture of one on the news . Fascinatingblow

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Becky

    I live in Martinsburg, WV and I have a whole family of hummingbird bees living in my butterfly bush. They are really awesome creatures and neat to watch.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Kelly

    I live in Wisconsin and have been seeing these and didn’t know what they were. At first thought they were baby hummingbirds but they had the antenas. They are really cool flying around all my flowers.

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Carla

    Seen them here in Lake Village IN. they love my Russian sage plants. They were covered with them, will they sting? I know it says it is a moth, I was wondering, I kept my grand baby away from the bush cause I thought it was some kind of bee.

    Pretty cool insect never seen one before nor heard of them until my brother said his neighbor has them in her yard. He is in Cedar Lake IN. My brother said not to kill them and I had no intentions to do that I just left them alone and let them eat I think they are interesting, why harm them?

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Joyce

    I have seen one here in Rosiclare, IL on my butterfly bush recently. I had never seen one before. What I would like to know is, is it a bee or moth and will it hurt/sting you?

    [No, I'm pretty sure they can't sting.

    The Bee Guy]

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Anonymous

    We just saw two of these outside a restaurant in Louisville, KY lived here my entire life never seen one before they have a hummingbird like “beak” and antenae what are these things?

  • anon@beesonthenet.com'

    Ted

    It is actually a moth. I don’t know if anyone already posted but they are not bees, there are a type of moth. I’m sure someone posted this previously. But I want to put it down at the bottom for quicker reference. Here’s a link to check out a little more info.

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