Last updated on October 25th, 2023 at 12:43 pm
The arrival of spring means the return of time spent in the garden reading, relaxing, doing some outdoor work or eating with friends and family… Unfortunately, the beautiful days bring with them visitors that we could do without. And mosquitoes are in the front line. Even with all the efforts in the world, it is difficult to get rid of them, so you might as well multiply your chances!
Nature being well done, it turns out that the natural predators of the mosquito can be of great help. And dragonflies are one of them: some can eat a hundred of them per day! Zoom on this particular insect.
Attracting dragonflies to your garden is not only a fascinating way to observe these beneficial insects but also a natural way to control garden pests. Dragonflies are voracious predators of mosquitoes and other flying insects. Here are some steps to attract dragonflies to your garden:
1. Create a Water Feature:
Dragonflies need water for their life cycle. A small pond, water garden, or even a birdbath with clean, still water can serve as a breeding ground and attract dragonflies. Make sure to include some submerged and emergent aquatic plants like water lilies and reeds, which provide egg-laying sites.
2. Provide Perches:
Dragonflies like to rest on perches near water to survey their hunting territory. Place tall, slender sticks or branches near your water feature to offer landing spots. You can also add decorative rocks or logs for them to rest on.
3. Plant Native Vegetation:
Native plants can provide both shelter and a food source for dragonflies. Choose native aquatic plants and those with tall, grassy stems that grow in or around water. Some good options include cattails, rushes, and water irises.
4. Minimize Chemical Use:
Pesticides can harm dragonflies indirectly by reducing their prey. Avoid using chemical pesticides in your garden, and opt for natural pest control methods instead.
5. Create Sunny Areas:
Dragonflies are cold-blooded and require warmth to fly efficiently. Design your garden with sunny areas where dragonflies can bask in the sun. Large rocks or sand patches can provide suitable sunning spots.
6. Offer a Variety of Insects:
Dragonflies are opportunistic predators and will feed on a variety of flying insects. Ensure that your garden supports a diverse insect population to attract dragonflies. Plants like milkweed can also attract butterflies, which can in turn become prey for dragonflies.
7. Avoid Excessive Lawn and Mowing:
Lawns offer little habitat for dragonflies, so consider reducing the size of your lawn and allowing more natural vegetation to grow. Longer grass and wildflowers can provide hiding places for dragonflies and their prey.
8. Use Fewer Lights:
At night, outdoor lights can attract flying insects. Reducing light pollution around your garden can help dragonflies hunt more effectively and keep their prey population in check.
9. Be Patient:
Attracting dragonflies may take some time. It may take a season or two for dragonflies to discover and colonize your garden. Be patient and provide a welcoming habitat.
10. Observe and Record: –
To attract dragonflies successfully, spend some time observing their behavior in your area. Take note of their preferences, such as specific water plants they seem to like, and adapt your garden accordingly.
Dragonflies are not only beneficial for controlling pests but also add beauty and intrigue to your garden with their graceful flights and striking colors. By creating the right environment, you can encourage these remarkable insects to visit and thrive in your garden.
Along with ladybugs and insect-eating birds, the dragonfly can be a real asset in the relentless (and annual) fight against mosquitoes. Attracting them to your garden, as well as doing simple things like avoiding standing water and growing mosquito repellent plants is a plus.
Easily recognizable by their four wings, dragonflies are insects of the odonate group. It is itself divided into two suborders: the zygoptera (commonly called damselflies) and the anisoptera. Apart from the size since the former are smaller and fold their wings, there is no fundamental difference between the two.
Dragonflies are born as larvae in ponds and other wetlands, where they feed on tadpoles and even fish – they are carnivores. It is only afterwards that they develop their long adult body and prominent eyes that give them a sharp sight more than useful for hunting.
How to attract it to the garden?
You will have understood: it is easier to attract dragonflies at home when you live near a wetland such as a swamp, a pond or a lake. If you have a water point in your garden, it is thus ideal! The best thing is that there are no fish in it, and that emergent plants are planted to promote egg-laying, which takes place in spring. Water lilies and other reeds are therefore welcome!
To best attract dragonflies, some plants are also more appropriate than others – whether you have a pond in your garden or not. Here are some of them:
- Spiky rudbeckia
- Subular Sagittaria
A precious help
The particularity that makes the dragonfly so fearsome is that it hunts and catches its prey in full flight. But it also eats mosquito larvae and other insects, both as larvae and as adults. Mosquitoes are not its only targets. As we have seen, tadpoles are among them, as well as flies and mud worms. Dragonflies are essential elements of the garden, which help to maintain a balanced ecosystem.