At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
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Dragonfly watching

It’s dragonfly time again!  Though they look ferocious (hence their name), dragonflies are actually very harmless to people, and great for your garden and yard!  

Dragonflies are predators and eat lots of small bugs.  When they first hatch they live underwater and eat other underwater bugs, especially mosquito larvae.  In fact, they are one of the major predators of mosquito larvae.  However, they don’t reproduce as often or as quickly as mosquitos, so if when pesticides are applied to ponds to kill mosquitos, they kill the dragonflies too, but the mosquitos will return again quicker than the dragonflies will.

Once they are grown, the dragonflies continue to hunt other bugs.  Which bugs they eat depends on the species of dragonfly, but include small bugs like mosquitos and gnats to larger bugs like caterpillars, moths, etc.  There are even dragonflies that eat small mammals like frogs!

There are many species of dragonflies, and they are all fun to watch.  They are territorial, and sometimes will buzz you if you are in their space (but won’t attack you – don’t worry!).  Some fly around to patrol their space, and some find a favorite perch from which to keep an eye on everything in their territory.  If you want to find some dragonflies, the best place to look is near standing water, since that is where they reproduce and are most likely to hang out. 

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