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Old July 24, 2017   #1
ash7019
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Default Do Tomato Hornworm Adult Hawk Moths Buzz Loudly?

When watering the tomato plants, heard a loud buzzing, or maybe more of a sputtering like the Wright Brothers' first airplane, right overhead. A fairly big dark flying insect was dive-bombing. Thought maybe a bumble or carpenter bee, or some sort of big beetle? But then it landed on a tomato plant - and took off before I got a close look at it.

Curious if that could that have been the adult moth of the tomato hornworm. Are they really loud flyers?
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Old July 24, 2017   #2
Labradors2
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I wish I knew......

Humming birds make a noise when they are in flight and can startle an unsuspecting person. Could it have been one of those? They love red runner bean flowers.

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Old July 24, 2017   #3
brownrexx
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The loud buzzing that I am hearing lately is coming from June bugs. I see them in the garden occasionally but I do not think that they are considered to be a bad garden pest.
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Old July 24, 2017   #4
MissS
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No moths do not 'buzz'. I have had hummingbirds try to feed from my tomatoes, perhaps eating the thrips more so than nectar. June bugs and Japanese Beetles are large and will 'buzz' while flying.

Since you say that you were watering, I think that it was a newly fledged hummingbird. They are attracted to the sound of the water and like to play in the spray that I make with the hose. It is that time of year when the babies emerge from the nest. They are out exploring and will come up close to check things out.
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Old July 24, 2017   #5
ChiliPeppa
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Hi all. Haven't posted in a long while. I'm not a moth expert but I can tell you that some large moths do indeed buzz or rather hum like a hummingbird. Around here they are called hummingbird moths. And if I'm not mistaken these same moth do come from the tomato hornworm. The moths are huge, and when one first see them flying they think they are hummingbirds. And in the daytime no less.
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Old July 24, 2017   #6
guruofgardens
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Like MissS said, the fledgling hummingbirds are out exploring. Just this AM as I was hand watering, two of them were attracted to the garden and loved it when I'd spray a bit of water toward them. Buzz buzz, fly away to the nearby tomato cage, then buzz buzz, back again in the water spray. We played for at least 10 minutes that way! The garden loved the extra water, too.
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Old July 24, 2017   #7
gorbelly
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Yes, you can hear the wings of the hornworm moths. I often notice them because their "humming" (sounds a lot like hummingbird wings) attracts my attention to them. They're large moths with very rapid wing movement--of course you would be able to hear them.
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Old July 24, 2017   #8
gorbelly
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At the very end of this video (last few seconds), when the moth takes off for the first time, you can hear the sound the wings make: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXGk6smZKLw
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Old July 24, 2017   #9
gorbelly
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However, many other bugs make a loud sound when flying. SVBs are audible. Many different beetles, dragonflies, etc. A hornworm moth is large, and I've never seen one land outright on a tomato plant. Even when laying an egg, they tend to hover. A tomato plant is convenient perch for a crash landing for many different flying critters.
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Old July 24, 2017   #10
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Gorbelly is right, they sound like a small hummingbird. Here's one that landed on one of my plants at dusk last year. I've seen several over the years late in the evenings, I think that they are active all night long.
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Old July 24, 2017   #11
Worth1
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I make a loud screaming noise when I fly.
Usually starts about halfway down when I realize I cant fly.

Worth
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Old July 24, 2017   #12
Hellmanns
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
I make a loud screaming noise when I fly.
Usually starts about halfway down when I realize I cant fly.

Worth
A ladder slipped with me once, my brother said I sounded like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.
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Old July 24, 2017   #13
ash7019
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Wow. Thanks for all the replies. The frequency of the beats at the end of that video did sound quite a bit like what I heard.

These plants were in containers at my grandmother's house in a fairly urban part of Brooklyn NY. I'm not sure if hummingbirds are known to be seen there, and was directly irrigating the potting mix using a fairly quiet watering can. Wish it was more likely that it was a hummingbird.

Just in case, guess whenever I'm there, I'll keep a lookout for chewed up leaves. And frass.

PS You Beliebers be careful with ladders

Last edited by ash7019; July 24, 2017 at 11:41 PM.
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Old July 24, 2017   #14
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ash7019 View Post
These plants were in containers at my grandmother's house in a fairly urban part of Brooklyn NY. I'm not sure if hummingbirds are known to be seen there, and was directly irrigating the potting mix using a fairly quiet watering can. Wish it was more likely that it was a hummingbird.
NYC has both hummingbirds and hornworms. Though in the 20 years I lived there, I saw neither. But my friend has a rooftop garden in Park Slope, and she gets hornworms regularly.

I've heard hummingbirds can be more common in more cultivated areas than in more wild areas in the city, since people garden to keep things blooming all the time.
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Old July 25, 2017   #15
Spartanburg123
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They dive bomb in the tomato patch to lay eggs- it's a very quick process actually. In a few weeks- more hornworms!
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