Tag Archives: Giant Silk Moth


Recently I stopped by to visit my friend Jane’s extraordinary butterfly and moth sanctuary. I refer to it as such because she not only raises Monarchs but also Zebra, Giant, and Black Swallowtails, as well as Cecropia and Luna Moths.

Jane has simply an amazing garden. She grows a vast array of North American native wildflowers and trees that support myriad species of pollinators. Jane also grows some beautiful non-native species that are of benefit to pollinators.

I was fascinated by Jane’s Mimosa Tree, a plant I have always wanted to try, but simply do not have the space. Hers is Mecca for butterflies and bees. The tree is very fast growing and blooms over an extended period of time when planted in the Northeast. Bonus feature- the fragrance emanating from the blossoms is heavenly!

The downside to growing a Mimosa Tree is that they are short lived and susceptible to fungus. They are also considered an invasive species in areas further south, where they spread easily and crowd out native communities. I don’t think that would be a problem in our area where it would more likely be a challenge to simply keep a Mimosa Tree alive during our rough and tumble New England winters. If you have ever grown a Mimosa tree in New England, i would love to hear from you. Thank you!

Here she is with her Monarchs in her extraordinary garden in the wondrous butterfly house she has set up.

Cecropia Moth Life Cycle -1) mating, 2) eggs, 3-7) developing instars, 8) spinning cocoon, 9 and 10) cocoon, 11) newly emerged, 12 and 13 closeups, 14) male Cecropia, 15) female Cecropia

Cecropia Moth Caterpillars and Shout Out to Gloucester Water Chief Engineer Larry Durkin and Senator Bruce Tarr

Cecropia Moth caterpillars copyright Kim SmithOur caterpillars of the beautiful Cecropia Moth, given by friend Christine, are in their second instar and growing rapidly on a steady diet of birch leaves. The Cecropia Moth is just one of the many reasons why we would never spray trees with pesticides and herbicides.

A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Gloucester’s drinking water chief engineer Larry Durkin and to Senator Bruce Tarr for working hard to keep glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) out of our water supply. Glyphosate is a known carcinogen and extremely bad news for bees, butterflies, and all pollinators. Durkin is pressing Keolis, the company that operates the MBTA commuter rail track service, to cut its use of glyphosate along the track adjacent to the Babson Reservoir and to manually cut back the growth.  Read the full story here in the Gloucester Times.

Cecropia Moth Male copyright Kim Smith

Male Cecropia Moth