Attract Dragonflies For Mosquito Control
Not only are they beautiful, but dragonflies consume an abundance of pesky, annoying mosquitoes. See how to attract dragonflies to your yard for the ultimate pest control.
Summer is the time of year relaxing outdoors taking in the fresh air, watching children and pets at play, stargazing, or enjoying cookouts. But these idyllic moments can quickly turn to misery when uninvited biting mosquitoes ruin it all. We’ve shared information in the past about how bats are great at providing natural mosquito control, but there’s another unlikely garden friend who can help as well: dragonflies! Not only are they beautiful and fun to watch, but they consume an abundance of pesky, annoying mosquitoes. Consider this: one dragonfly can consume hundreds of mosquitoes in a day. So how can you attract dragonflies to your yard for the ultimate pest control? Read on!
Interesting Facts about Dragonflies
Check out these interesting facts:
- Dragonflies can’t walk, but they are skilled flyers. They can fly up and down and hover like a helicopter at speeds of up to 30 mph.
- They’re excellent hunters—they catch, kill and eat their prey in flight with a near-perfect success rate.
- They use their sharp teeth to tear and chew their insect prey. But they can’t bite humans.
- Dragonflies excel at mosquito control.
Is It A Dragonfly or Damselfly?
How to Attract Dragonflies to Your Yard
This beneficial insect is worth inviting to your yard. Here are a few tips to ensure they are welcome so they can start doing their job at controlling mosquitoes.
- First, you’ll want to remove the bug zapper if you have one and let the dragonflies do the zapping on the insects in your yard.
- Install a pond or water feature in your yard. Dragonflies lay eggs in still, rather than moving, water throughout their life cycle. The size of the water feature isn’t essential.
- If you have a pond with fish in it, place aquatic plants in pots and submerge them in the water. This will protect the dragonfly eggs from being eaten by fish (dragonflies in the larva or nymph stage aren’t as vulnerable).
What To Plant
There are many beneficial aquatic plants to include in your water feature to attract dragonflies.
- 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)
- Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)
These are land/yard plants to consider including to attract dragonflies:
- Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- White Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Meadow Sage (Salvia marcus)
Check your local garden center for aquatic and land plants that thrive in your growing region. And start enjoying your back yard again!
Note: If you keep bees, or are trying to attract bees to your yard, keep in mind that dragonflies, which are carnivores, are known to eat bees too.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
I understand the “Dragonflies lay eggs in still, rather than moving, water” part, but don’t the mosquitoes like this also? Or am I relying on the dragonflies to take care of that problem later?
Yes unfortunately mosquitoes like still water too. If you have a lot of those pesky bugs, you may want to skip a pond even if it means more dragonflies.
I live in the Caribbean. I see very few dragonflies. What plants can I grow to invite them to my garden?
Thank you Farmers Almanac
Thank YOU, Joe, we appreciate you taking the time to comment.
They also kill honey bees and the bees are crucial to our survival.
Hi Steve, we do mention that in the article. It’s true they are carnivores and are indiscriminate at what they eat.
Do the yarrow flowers need to be white to attract the dragonflies? We have multiple beds of classic yellow yarrow.
Very helpful, thank you!
How do I know if it is dragon fly nymph or mosquito larvae in the pond
If you look at the abdominal segments (the lower third) you will see the difference. On a dragonfly nymph it’s a smooth oval or football shape. Mosquito larvae are slim, straight and fuzzy looking. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to breed in. I have some life stage charts from my college biology class but can’t find how to upload them. I made an old plastic kiddie pool into a pond with rocks and water plants that I put a fountain pump in for a small waterfall to keep it oxygenated and give the birds a place to bathe.