Dragonflies are beautiful to watch, coming in an array of colors and sizes. But there’s more to them than their beauty. Dragonflies feed on mosquitoes in every life stage. That means they are not only attractive, but they’re also an enemy of your enemy!
Moreover, dragonflies depend on the same conditions as mosquitoes for their life cycle. These colorful insects are a natural way to fight mosquitoes. How effective are they? Is it a good idea to use dragonflies to fight mosquitoes? Let’s get buzzy and find out!
Mosquito Problems and Traditional Control Methods
One of the most feared tiny animals by man is the mosquito. A bite from one of these insects will cause an intense irritation that might last over an hour and go away. The itchy and painful bites are not the biggest threats from these summer pests.
Becoming infected days or weeks after the mosquito’s life cycle ends is why you should be keen while reading this. We’ll discuss the common mosquito problems and the traditional control methods for these pesky bloodsuckers.
According to the CDC, a bite from an infected mosquito might not be the end of your discomfort. Mosquitoes also spread diseases. One of them is Malaria, which is among the leading causes of child mortality globally. You can’t tell which is infected and which is not, and treating all mosquitoes as infected is best. The itchiness after a bite is not comfortable either. Here are the common mosquito problems you wouldn’t want to hit closer to home:
West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is commonly transmitted through a mosquito bite. Most people infected with the virus will not show any symptoms. One in every five will develop a fever or other symptoms. About one percent of the infected people develop a serious neurologic illness that can be fatal.
Also known as Zika, the disease is spread through a bite from an infected mosquito. The specific specie is the Aedes which bites mainly during the daytime but also bikes at night. There’s no vaccine for the Zika virus.
Other problems associated with mosquitoes include dengue fever, Chikungunya virus, and Malaria, which are uncommon in the US. Even though some people may not get sick, some might experience short-term illnesses while others experience severe and long-term illnesses. In some cases, these diseases kill!
Traditional Control Methods
There are various traditional control methods meant to help curb mosquitoes. It has worked in many states, including Georgia. Here are the four control methods.
Preventing breeding is the most commonly used method. It involves working with planners and construction companies to build infrastructures that do not support breeding habitats. Ditches, ponds, and mismanaged water management structures create mosquito breeding areas.
Larviciding involves using a bacterium that is toxic to mosquito larvae. The bacterium is applied to the water that contains larvae or pupae. The bacterium is not harmful to beneficial insects or larvae. It kills selectively.
Source reduction involves filling wet areas with soil. Keeping the water on the mash makes it impossible for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and breed. Eliminating stagnant water is one of the most effective methods to lower the population of mosquitoes.
Adulticide treatment works by spraying droplets which are done diligently not to affect the non-target insects. It’s done at night when mosquitoes are most active, and bees, butterflies, and dragonflies are not.
How Do Dragonflies Help Control The Mosquito Population?
Dragonflies are effective natural mosquito killers. They eat mosquitoes from larvae to adult stages. You can spot them circling around bushes and water storage while hunting for their next meals.
Dragonflies are used worldwide to control the spread of mosquitoes, especially the disease-carrying ones. Dragonflies eat every type of mosquito, including Culex, Aedes, and Anopheles. One dragonfly can eat over 30 adult mosquitoes and hundreds of mosquito larvae.
Dragonflies also help control other bugs too, like the midges. However, for a dragonfly effect, you must attract beneficial insects to your home. To do that, you need to learn the type of environment they like and attract them.
Ways to Attract Dragonflies to Your Property
Dragonflies are super friendly insects and will definitely come to your home if you invite them. Make sure to keep them around by providing a conducive environment for them. You must do several practices before your garden becomes a dragonfly haven.
Add a Water Feature to Your Yard
Dragonflies spend most of their lives around water. They lay their eggs in the same water and hover around in the surrounding vegetation. Some species prefer flowing water, while others prefer settled water, so it would be best to incorporate both.
If you set up a water feature to attract these incredible aquatic insects, ensure it’s at least two feet deep. Anything shallower will make dragonflies think it’s unsafe for them and therefore look for an alternative. Besides, mosquito larvae do best in shallow water. Be careful about what you are attracting.
You can also grab an old sink or a steel trough and turn it into a container pond. Container ponds allow dragonflies to breed in them. A water bowl with a stone inside it where dragonflies would land and drink can also be essential.
One of the most inventive ways is a rain garden. It’s a fantastic feature that includes a shallow dip in your garden which rainwater flows into. It allows the water to form a pool and then seep away. It creates a temporary water feature that attracts dragonflies instead of a wet area that attracts mosquitoes to your property.
Plant Flowers that Attract Dragonflies
Dragonflies are not pollinators. They don’t feed from flowers like butterflies and bees. Therefore, the plants in your garden should attract insects that dragonflies love to feed on and provide them with a place to perch or shelter. Find out the dragonfly-attracting flowers below.
Lilies are beautiful showy flowers that come in different vibrant colors. They prefer sunny locations and soil with good drainage for the plant to grow from bulbs. The best time to plant them is in early spring or fall. Lilies grow upright and taller than other plants, giving dragonflies a place to perch.
Borage requires full sun and part shade to thrive. It does better in mid-summer and features purple star-shaped flowers. The low-maintenance plant is favored by average soils. It attracts insects that dragonflies prey for.
New York Aster
The Aster is a flower natively growing in the eastern United States. It grows tall and features broader leaves at the base, which get smaller as you go up toward the flowers. They do better in full sun and moist soil. Dragonflies enjoy perching on the leaves and the purple flowers.
Cutleaf Coneflowers are beautiful yellow-flowered tall plants. They grow well under full sun and require little maintenance. The flowers attract pollinators and spread in no time. Because of their height, dragonflies like perching on them.
Pink Muhly Grass
The grass is an attractive kind that will not only beautify your garden with the pink haze of blooms during fall. It thrives better in full sun and well-drained soil. It tends to expand its territory with time. Dragonflies like to perch on the grass tips and hunt for insects like mosquitoes in the grass.
Ignore the word “Rattlesnake.” The native wildflower will complement your garden. It blooms from summer to fall, grows tall, and prefers full sun. The green-white orbs attract insects that are food for the dragonflies. Dragonflies also enjoy perching on this plant.
Yarrow is commonly found in flower gardens. The low-maintenance flower can also be found in fields and roadsides. It does better under full sun and is a territorial plant that expands over time. However, you can contain it by removing some runners. The flowers can be pink, white, or yellow, attracting insects and butterflies. The leaves also have a feathery texture, giving dragonflies a place to perch.
Sunflowers are tall plants with large yellow flowers. They thrive best in summer and would be an excellent addition to your garden. Sunflowers attract insects such as bees and butterflies and provide a good landing for dragonflies.
Dragonflies seem to love the smell of peppermint. While there is no scientific proof, dragonflies have been known to perch on peppermint instead of the alternative plants on the side. There’s a widespread belief that dragonflies use the plant to ward off predators. Peppermint thrives in summer weather.
Plant Your Vegetation Near Water
Without a water source, dragonflies will not accept your invitations. However, if you have one already set up, that’s the only thing you need to do. While a water source will attract them, plants around the water pools will increase attraction as dragonflies love these two elements.
Vegetation, especially one submerged underwater, provides a suitable environment for the survival of dragonfly eggs and nymphs. This would allow the dragonfly population to grow, which is incredible.
The emergent vegetation gives the nymphs developing into adults the path they need to leave the water and fend for themselves. Floating plants also provide the adults with a landing pad where they lay their eggs.
Avoid Using Pesticides Completely
When you find your vegetation damaged, with holes in the leaves, your sixth sense will tell you to reach for your pesticide. That would be a grave mistake! Not all insects in your garden damage your plants, but the pesticide will kill indiscriminately. Many insects are pollinators, and of course, the dragonfly, which stands between you and the bloodsuckers, will die!
To avoid a mass murder of beneficial insects, find alternative ways to deal with destructive ones. Otherwise, the group that eats the pests will die with the pests, and the pests will return and dominate while the rest of the dragonflies avoid a toxic garden. Besides, dragonflies will happily visit if your garden has plenty of tasty snacks. If you do want a more powerful solution, Mr. Mister Mosquito Contol offers non-toxic pesticide solutions that will keep your family and pets safe from mosquitoes AND harsh chemicals.
FAQs – Dragonflies for Mosquito Control
Is it good to have dragonflies in your yard?
It is good because they are insect-eating and help in mosquito control by feeding on their larvae and adult mosquitoes.
How many mosquitoes will a dragonfly eat in a day?
A dragonfly will eat over a hundred mosquitoes daily and hundreds of larvae.
How do dragonflies hunt mosquitoes?
Dragonflies catch mosquitoes mid-air and eat them. They rarely miss a shot, unlike your hands when you are about to slap a mosquito.
Can I buy dragonflies for my yard?
Dragonflies can be purchased from expert breeders. The insect will grow and be released in your yard.
How much do dragonflies cost?
Dragonfly eggs sell for $25 or more on Amazon.
What eats the most mosquitoes?
Dragonflies lead, followed by damselflies and predacious mosquitoes that eat other mosquitoes.
What eats dragonflies?
Dragonfly nymphs are eaten by fish, frogs, and newts. Adult ones are eaten by bats, spiders, birds, and lizards.
Attract Dragonflies for Natural Mosquito Control!
Attracting dragonflies is a sure way to get rid of mosquitoes in your home. It’s like hitting three birds with one stone. Your garden will be transformed into a beautiful paradise with fauna and flora, creating a home for beautiful dragonflies and other beneficial insects while you eliminate mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes spread deadly diseases, and even if you don’t get infected, living with constant bites on your skin can be unbearable. By providing the ideal shelter for dragonflies, you’ll not even have to say a word to invite these incredible flyers. Mosquitoes tend to increase in warmer months, mostly in summer. The dragonfly population will keep them under control and return the favor by shielding your family from the naughty bloodsuckers.
Consider Professional Mosquito Control
There are many ways to eradicate mosquitoes. If you’re unable to attract dragonflies to your home, or their population is lower and not resolving the mosquito menace, you can consider seeking professional help. Mr. Mister is a professional company in Atlanta, Georgia, that helps homeowners with mosquito control. We use various control methods, including organic treatment, to ensure mosquitoes don’t bother your sleep anymore. Contact us for a quote!