Pests are always a bother, and often we resort to chemicals to get rid of them. Mosquitoes are particularly unpleasant, with bites leading to a range of issues from itchiness to the transmission of serious diseases such as malaria, dengue, and other viruses.
Realizing the harmful impacts of pesticides, however, more people are resorting to natural resolutions to maintain a pest-free environment. Dragonflies provide both a useful, natural, and beautiful solution, as they are known to consume irritating mosquitoes at all stages of life.
Colorful dragonflies are a joy to watch, especially when they hover over plants and flowers like tiny helicopters. These pretty creatures have an added benefit to homeowners – they can consume hundreds of mosquitoes a day! They are the ultimate solution for natural mosquito control and are certainly lovely additions to anyone’s home or garden.
Dragonflies are skilled flyers and can fly and hover at speeds up to 30 mph. These tiny little things are actually excellent hunters, with a near-perfect success rate when they target their pray. It may be hard to imagine but they also have sharp teeth so that they can chew their prey. Despite this, however, they are generally harmless to humans.
With the capacity to seriously decrease the mosquito population, it would be beneficial to attract this garden friend into any backyard. There are a number of ways to invite dragonflies to your home to enhance your home and get rid of mosquitoes at the same time.
The first step is to remove the bug zapper. This may end up killing the very insects you want to welcome into your home.
Install a water feature, such as an artificial pond or a bird bath, since dragonflies are aquatic insects. This will make them feel right at home. Dragonflies favor laying their eggs in still water, rather than moving, throughout their life cycle. The water feature may be big or small, it doesn’t really matter to these insects.
Even the tiniest spaces can lead to creative gardens for everyone to enjoy. At any size, it should be about two feet deep. This will be deep enough for dragonflies, and yet too deep for the survival of mosquito larvae.
If you favor creating a fishpond, make sure to incorporate aquatic plants and submerge them in the water. This way the eggs laid by the dragonflies are protected from being eaten by fish.
When they grow into the larva or nymph stage, they won’t be as vulnerable to prey. You can also skip adding fish altogether to prevent undue stress on the dragonflies.
Some aquatic plants are better at attracting dragonflies than others. Make sure to add some of the following to your intended water feature: hardy or tropical water lily (Nymphaea), cattail (Typha latifolia), arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), wild celery (Vallisneria americana), white bulrush (Scirpus albescens), umbrella palm (Cyperus alternifolius), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnate), and Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum).
There are also yard plants that dragonflies like, such as black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), white yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and meadow sage (Salvia marcus). The plants will not only be attractive but can turn into the favorite hangout areas of the insects.
Make sure that the water feature or pond, as well as the plants favored by the dragonflies are in an area with plenty of sunlight. They like the sun and they need the warmth for energy and to optimize their metabolism. They tend to hide when the weather is too cloudy or cool.
So during the summer when you want to hang outdoors in the backyard, you may want to create a dragonfly-friendly garden to keep mosquitoes at bay. This way, the whole family can enjoy a day outdoors without slathering on the insect repellent or lighting citronella candles.
Check your local garden center and enjoy your time in the sun without having to worry about nasty mosquito bites!
Here is a video of a dragonfly eating a mosquito:
(Note: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion, recommendation or medical diagnosis.)