The stiff goldenrod began blooming this week, and that’s attracting many bumblebees and honeybees and at least three locust borers, which are yellow-and-black longhorned beetles. And then I spotted this:
It looked like a tiny hummingbird moth with its transparent wings and tail shaped like a lobster’s. In fact, when I searched for “clear wings lobster tail,” all the results were about hummingbird moths – but this is just a fraction of the size, and it doesn’t flit like a hummingbird but instead it acts like a bee or fly. It swishes its “tail” up and down like a mermaid.
Instagram to the rescue. Just 20 minutes after I posted a photo and asked for help identifying the insect, one of my buddies identified it as a clearwing borer moth, and I think I’ve further identified it as a dogwood borer.
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability calls clearwing borers “native pests” that sometimes kill trees and sometimes don’t cause serious damage.
This is the third borer I’ve seen in the last two years. The others:
Perhaps the most famous borer these days is the destructive, invasive emerald ash borer beetle – fortunately, I haven’t seen one of these yet. And there are others that aren’t quite as destructive, though they do cause damage.
More about clearwing borer moths
- The lesser ash threat? Banded ash clearwing borer – with signs that these moths have infected trees
- Fact sheet (warning: PDF) from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability