They grace our artwork, clothing, and now they can adorn, and protect, your yard. From their envy worthy flying skills, to their marvelous jewel tones, they seem to have it all.
Dragonflies have an added bonus; they eat mosquitoes!
If you are worried about mosquitoes or West Nile Virus, simply put in a pond. You will attract dragonflies, and combat mosquitoes and West Nile at the same time. Plus, ponds are cool and stuff!
There are as many as 5000 species of dragonflies and damselflies, none of which are actually “flies” but they do a lot of flying.
Damselflies often fly under the misnomer of dragonflies, though they are a separate species. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their wings:
When dragonflies perch, their wings spread are flat out to the sides, as they are portrayed in most artwork. Damselflies perch with their wings pinched together above their backs.
Their order, ‘Odonata’ actually translates as toothed ones, and dragonflies are called this for good reason:
Dragonflies are voracious carnivores, from the moment they hatch, until the end of their life, which can be as long as a year for some species.
While in their larval state, the dragonflies live underwater, breathing though their butts, (yes, I said butt!) consuming tadpoles, other insect larvae, (like mosquito larvae), small fish, and even each other.
Once they take flight, they eat flying insects, including mosquitoes, and can consume hundreds per DAY!!!
While most predators in the wild only catch about 25% of their targeted meals, dragonflies have an astonishing 90% catch rate.
Their flying maneuvers, which include, hovering, moving side to side, zooming straight up or down, and flying backwards, along with their nimble 6 footed, in the air, grabbing technique, helps them capture those dirty mosquitoes like no one else can.
Even a bug zapper is not as good as a dragonfly!
The one drawback may be this; dragonflies are territorial, with males duking it out for air space and females. This may mean for the best mosquito control, you need multiple ponds for many dragonflies.
Multiple ponds in your yard….haha, I do amuse myself, even if I don’t amuse others.
So, build a pond, and fight West Nile Virus and those pesky mosquitoes. Your neighbors will thank you.
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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal
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