Are you tired of pesky insects like termites, horseflies, blackflies, midges, and mosquitoes, but don’t want to poison your yard and body with insecticides? Well, we have some great news!
Dragonflies are not just beautiful; they are also some of the most efficient insect predators on earth.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, a single dragonfly is capable of eating hundreds of mosquitoes per day.
They are also excellent at hunting other pesky, disease-carrying bugs, able to consume up to 15 percent of their own body weight each day on mosquitoes which make up 90 percent of their diet. And according to Popular Mechanics, they also snack on deerflies, termites, blackflies, midges, and horseflies.
“Because they’re top predators in the insect world, they keep a balance with the insects in your yard,” landscaper Christine Cook tells HGTV.
You can attract dragonflies to your yard in two simple steps which involve: building a pond and planting their favorite plants.
Your Dragonfly pond can be as simple as a barrel or trough of water or even an elegant backyard oasis.
If you’re interested in building an oasis, you can find step-by-step instructions here on how to create it.
The pond doe not need to be very big, nor does it require a filter, according to Popular Mechanics. However, it should be located in an area that has protection from wind and will get at least five to six hours of the midday sun.
The depth needs to be very shallow at the edges and around two feet in at the center. A pond that is too shallow may overheat or dry up, while the deeper areas will provide refuge from predators.
You should add some flat stones around the edges, so dragonflies will have a place to rest and soak in the sun, and place more stones emerging from just inside the pond to create good hiding spots for larvae during the underwater growth stage.
Don’t introduce, frogs, fish, or ducks, as they will prey on the nymphs and eggs.
And of course, you want to keep all fertilizers and poisons out of the water.
The type of plants you put in and around the pond are crucial for a dragonfly’s survival.
“Cattails and grassy foliage allow the larvae passage out of the pond,” Cook tells HGTV. And “water lilies are a favorite birthing place for some species of dragonflies.”
Water lilies can also provide much-needed shade as well as keep algae in check, she says. Cook also recommends starting the water lilies in containers or pots with no holes in the bottom, filled with about three-quarters full with soil rich in organic matter.
Place the water lily in the soil, while leaving the top portion of the tuber exposed. Then add some gravel to the top, so the soil doesn’t float up, and place the lily about 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep in the water. Move it deeper during the winter months, so it doesn’t freeze.
Dragonflies will also love a grass called Glyceria Maxima (also known as Reed Manna Grass or Great Manna Grass).
According to LiliesWaterGardens.co.uk:
“Dragonflies spend most of the lives as nymphs under the water, so when the time comes for them to take to the skies, they emerge out of the water by climbing the stems of their favored pond plants. Glyceria Maxima is one such plant as it has perfect stems and leaves for the newly emerged dragonflies to cling to while they dry off and expand their wings.”