You’ve probably seen them flitting about in your garden, or maybe one of them buzzed by your face at lightning speed as you walked past a businesses’ Lantana bush.

They are big and scary and they’ve been startling all numbers of people around El Paso the last couple of weeks. So, what are they and are they trashing your plants and shrubs?

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They’re Not Birds, So What Are They?


It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s a … moth? Yes, a moth.

I did a bit of a deep dive on the topic and this is what I've found out. They’re called hummingbird moths. And, no, not because a horny hummingbird drunk on sugar water got its swerve on with a willing month.

They’re called that because they look, act, make a sound, and feed much like the bird they’re nick-named after. One key difference between them is they don’t have a pointed beak like a hummingbird.

Their sucking mouthpart is soft and curled and, frankly, creepy. Watch it unfold in slow-mo in the video co-worker Emily turned me onto and tell me it doesn’t make your skin crawl a little.

Their Real Name

The species we’re seeing making Top Gun-like maneuvers around El Paso are White-lined Sphinx moths, which are more colorful than the two other type of hummingbird moth species and have a larger wing span.

Are Hummingbird Moths Dangerous?

They do not pose any threat to humans as they don’t bite or sting; however, they might smack into your face in their haste to get from one plant to another.

Is My Garden Safe?


According to the internet, they’re pollinators not pests and are beneficial to your garden and flowers. Just let them do their thing and do your best to stay out of their way.

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