By Bob Lusk
Dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies…we see them each spring, some we see all summer. They flit around the pond, doing what they do. In spring, seems like every window and door has 25 mayflies on it.
There’s not a day during warm weather we don’t notice different color dragonflies and damselflies. They are lighter than air and just seem to be an esthetic part of our ponds. Are they nature’s decorations?
Yes, they are. But, these valuable insects are much more than that.
They are voracious predators of other insects…insects we would rather not have. Dragonflies and their kinfolk prey on gnats, mosquitoes and other little pests.
One of nature’s ironies is what eats dragonflies.
What makes it ironic is that many of us go to great lengths to take care of purple martin houses, just so we’ll have birds that make a living off mosquitoes.
The true irony is that martins don’t eat mosquitoes. By the time mosquitoes come out to play, martins are in for the night.
But, dragonflies play all day and well into the night.
While I’ll never muster the courage to tell people NOT to keep purple martin houses, I will suggest you do everything you can to provide habitat for dragonflies and damselflies.
The larvae live in your pond and crawl out to hatch.
Larvae like rocky areas…rocks piled or layered. Seems like baseball sized rocks to basketball sized work best. Place the rocks in shallow water near aquatic vegetation. The larvae hatch in the rocks and are safe there. They feed on and around aquatic plants. Then, when mature, they exit the water and go through the metamorphosis to become the flying creatures they are.
It’s nature’s way.