Dragonflies – What’s Their Purpose?

In the spring and summer time we see them… dragonflies, mayflies, and damselflies. They dance around the pond, doing what they do. During spring time, it seems like every window and door has dozens of mayflies on it. Not a day goes by during the warm weather that we do not notice different color dragonflies and damselflies. Floating above your pond it seems and lighter than air. Could they be nature’s decorations? Absolutely! But these insects are more valuable than that.

Dragonfly

Mayfly

Damselfly

Dragonflies as Predators

These insatiable predators devour insects that we would prefer not to have. Dragonflies and their relatives prey on mosquitoes, gnats and other tiny pests. Birds and frogs eat dragonflies – one of nature’s ironies. What makes it ironic is the fact that many people go to great lengths to take care of bird houses that belong to purple martins, just so we’ll have birds that live off of mosquitoes.

Here’s the true irony – purple martins don’t eat mosquitoes. Martins are done for the night by the time mosquitoes come out to play. However, dragonflies play all day and they play well into the night. Though I would never tell people to not keep purple martin houses, I would definitely suggest to do everything you can to provide an environment suitable for dragonflies and damselflies.

It’s easy peasy!

The larvae live inside your pond and crawl out to hatch. Larvae like rocky areas, whether piled or layered. Baseball sized to basketball sized are ideal. Place your rocks near aquatic vegetation in shallow water. The larvae are safe in the rocks and will hatch there, and they feed on the nearby aquatic plants. Once they have matured, they leave the water and go through the metamorphosis to become the flying insects they were meant to be.