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 Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.