The Moths That Look Like Bees and Wasps

Last Updated on July 5, 2021 by Jeffery Jago

There are an incredible variety of cool-looking insects out there, But did you know there are moths that can disguise themselves as wasps?! Here are several species that can do just that.

While there are actually more than 1000 different species that can mimic bees and wasps, The Red Oak Clearwing moth (AKA: Hornet Moth, and Paranthrene simulans) is the best.

Red Oak Clearwing moth (Hornet Moth Aka The Paranthrene simulans)

Red Oak Clearwing Moth looking for some lunch“Hummingbird Clearwing Moth? looking for some lunch” by RTD Photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Red Oak Clearwing moth resembles a wasp and uses its long, narrow wings to hover in front of flowers when it is feeding on nectar.

It even has the extension at the end that most insects have called an “elbow” which helps with balance while they feed on plants.

If you weren’t looking close enough or paying attention, you totally would be fooled by this little magician into thinking you were looking at a bonafide wasp or bee.

The moths are so clever. It’s no wonder they’re able to fool humans in the process too 😉

It just goes to show how cool nature is– there are moths out there who can disguise themselves as a bee or even an aggressive wasp, When their goal is really only to munch on some sweet nectar.

If you would like to try and see one of these guy’s in person (don’t worry they won’t sting, their moths, they can’t sting!) They’re most active from April to June and into July.

Just hope a plain up into nova scotia, or down into Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, or Mississippi to see this guy in action.

The larvae tend to stick around oaks and chestnuts, red and white, so if you hang around too maybe you will see a grown adult!

If you want to research these cool things more, check out these resources:

Scientific names and Synonyms:

  • Sciapteron simulans Grote, 1881
  • Trochilium simulans
  • Fatua palmii (Edwards, 1887)
  • Trochilium luggeri (Edwards, 1891)

The wiki