Sunday, September 12, 2010
Here is a Hawk Moth on my Oswego Tea. The Oswego Tea is also known as Bee Balm, Monarda, and Bergamot. Why do I call it Oswego Tea? Native Americans in my area of New York State used the dried leaves for tea. They shared it with our early settlers who used it as a substitute after the Boston Tea Party - thus it became known as Oswego Tea. Monarda didyma, with red flowers, is actually the only Monarda truly called Oswego Tea, although we tend to call all of it Oswego Tea.
The Hawk moth, also known as the sphinx moth or hummingbird moth, is often thought to be a very small hummingbird because of its hovering and flight pattern. You'll see them feeding on the same plants enjoyed by hummingbirds.
I remember the first time I'd ever heard of one. It was at least 20 years ago, my grandmother called me, very excited, and described this thing she saw hovering in her lavender. She thought it was a species of hummingbird she'd never seen. This was before I had internet, so I scoured the books in the library and found the hawk moth. Mystery solved! Now they are a common sight around here.