Bees, Asters, and a Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)October 28, 2013

There's an aster plant that came up in my 'meadow' between the house and the woods, and I have no idea what type it is. I don't know if it came up on its own or if I planted it in the past - if I did, I don't remember doing it. It grew real tall and wide for an aster - about 5'-6' tall X 3'-4' wide - and started to lean over about a month ago, maybe due to the weight of the buds and/or other things growing on it. I need to weed the 'meadow' badly, but now that it's so late in the year, I'll just wait for a freeze to do the job for me. We usually get one by late November or early December. The aster finally bloomed! The flowers open blue/purple then fade to a whitish color. The plant is COVERED in bees and other insects, and today I saw this scarlet bodied wasp moth -

I've let hemp vine/Mikania scandens (the reported host plant) grow in the meadows wherever they come up, hoping to find a SBWM cat one day - so far, no luck. Since I only see them in fall, they may not lay eggs here, just come from other parts, like maybe the Coast or Florida, I don't know. Has anybody ever found a SBWM cat? Also does anybody know what type aster this is? The leaves are small and narrow but plentiful.

Here's another picture -


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This could be New England Aster or something very similar. It is considered a native plant here in Wisconsin. I'm not sure how it got the name. We have some in our yard. It begins to bloom in early September, when other flowers are scarce. The local bees are all over this plant in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 9:27AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I looked up New England asters, and I think you're right, Eric. The leaves look like it, and the size matches. It's shown as being native to nearly every state in the U.S., including mine, so it may have come up on its own. I really like this big aster, so I'll watch for seeds and spread them in the other meadows.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 11:37AM
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That's an awesome moth!


    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo Southern CA.)

Your photos are stunning! I love that bee, cute. Never seen a red bodied wasp! Thanks for the pictures.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 12:28AM
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That Red Bodied Wasp Moth is awesome!! They remind me of the Oleander Wasp Moths of South Florida, esp the blue black one c the white spots and red abdominal tip.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:32AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, all!

They're one of my favorite moths - a beautiful moth that flies in the day but looks like a wasp, interesting!

They're closely related to the oleander wasp moth, Leafhead.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 10:09AM
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