Garden overrun with mosquitoes? It’s time to attract the dragonfly

And then there is the benefit of the dragonfly’s insatiable appetite for the mosquito, another insect currently out in abundance. Not only do dragonfly larvae, or nymphs, feed on mosquito larvae, adult dragonflies eat adult mosquitoes. Some adult dragonflies are said to consume hundreds of mosquitoes a day.

In turn, dragonflies are themselves food sources for fish, frogs, other aquatic insects, birds, lizards, spiders and more. Bowman says both the nymphs and adult dragonflies are important components of food webs that help form the natural balance of an ecosystem.

So how to lure them? “Build a pond” is Bowman’s short answer.

Then fill it with plants that will provide havens for dragonflies. While this is best done by creating a mix of shallow, medium and deep areas to provide habitat for a range of plant and animal species (nymphs being ferocious predators), it is also possible to plant in pots that can be submerged in the water at different heights.

Bowman cautions against using regular potting mix, which often contains wetting agents, fertilizers and other components that can encourage algal blooms. Instead, she suggests filling pots with soil from your garden mixed with some sand.

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She also recommends using large pots to accommodate growth, and incorporating native plants, such as milfoil, nardoo and rushes, which will be especially attractive to dragonflies and other native wildlife. The plants will also reduce the amount of sunlight entering the water, thereby reducing algal growth.

If you create a pond now, you could have nymphs by Christmas.

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