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Dragonfly Benefits to Your Garden and How to Attract Them

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Dragonfly Benefits to Your Garden and How to Attract Them

Their beauty is known throughout the world, and they have various symbols attached to them. Dragonflies also provide many garden benefits, and it doesn’t take much to attract them.

They are skilled hunters, but other species are strictly nectar feeders. For both of these reasons, they’re revered as true blessings in agriculture for any farm or garden.

Dragonflies (Odonata) are mostly harmless and far more beneficial than people give them credit for. They are not dangerous or poisonous to dogs or cats; however, they will bite to defend themselves.

If you’re an avid gardener, chances are that you’ll want these pretty little predators gracing your doorstep.

Below, we’ll discuss the purpose of dragonflies, how to attract them, as well as their garden benefits and unique facts.

Life Cycle

The dragonfly goes through a three-cycle phase called incomplete metamorphosis: egg, nymph, and adult.

From egg to adult, the lifecycle can span up to five years, most of which are in the nymph stage (baby dragonfly).

Nymphs live in marshes or ponds where the waters are calm. They may remain in that stage for as long as four years.

What do Dragonflies do for the Garden?

Though their meaning is symbolic in various cultures, here’s where interest in these colorful insects needs to grow.

We’re sure you’ve lamented about the annoyance of mosquitoes in the past. If you hate mosquitoes, then you should, by all means, adore dragonflies.

They serve a useful purpose in the garden and around the house. These are the main benefits of dragonflies.

  • Mosquitoes are their favorite food. And since mosquitoes are typically found near stagnant water, this is where you’ll most likely find dragonflies.
  • Gnats, aphids, midges, grasshoppers, flies—you name it, and the dragonfly will at least attempt to eat it. This is especially helpful since many of the insects they like to eat are pests of vegetables and other plants.

A dragonfly’s sharp eyes can spot even the tiniest insects crawling about on the leaves of your garden plants. They’ll swoop down and devour the pest before it ever has a chance to react.

If you have a heavy dragonfly population, then you’ll most likely see a dramatic decrease in some harmful insects and bugs in your garden for a week or so.

How to Attract Dragonflies

Here’s what you can do to make dragonflies come around:

1. Water

If you want to attract dragonflies to your yard and garden, your best bet is to have water nearby. Whether it’s an old sink with water or a small pond, make sure you have it.

It will draw them in by the bunch, seeking a safe place to lay their eggs. However, resist the urge to keep the pond sparkling clean and spotless.

Remember, dragonflies are mainly found in swampy areas with lots of aquatic plants. This is one of the best spots for them to hide their eggs.

Therefore, try to leave a few leaves at the bottom of the pool or water container. You can also place some bamboo stakes near the water source to give them little rest stops.

No Pond? No Problem

The chances are, you probably don’t have a pond nearby. However, that’s not a real issue since dragonflies can travel great distances. If you live more than a mile from any sort of water source, be it a lake, a pond, or a small river, you’ll likely still see a few of them.

You can also create a small, manageable water source. Get a rain barrel, fill it with water, and place it in the back of the yard, for example.

As long as the water is deep, it’s sure to draw dragonflies to your yard. However, they won’t breed in gutters, birdbaths, or other containers with small amounts of water.

2. Mosquitoes

Dragonflies eat mosquitoes at all life stages. Yes, dragonfly larvae eat mosquito larvae.

With an added water source, you’re going to get quite a few extra mosquitoes, as these little irritants also rely on water for breeding.

The good thing here, though, is that if you’re attracting mosquitoes, it’s only a matter of time before you attract the coveted dragonfly. So, be patient and use some natural mosquito repellent until then.

3. Flowers

This is a surefire way to attract dragonflies without water. Certain plants will draw them to your yard.

Joe-Pye weed, black-eyed Susan, yarrow, borage, and coneflowers are all great plants that attract dragonflies.

It is also said that they are attracted to blue and white colors, so flowering plants like borage and white water lilies are among the best plants to attract them.

Dragonfly Species

There are about 3000 species, most of which live in tropical areas. They are often mistaken for damselflies.

What Do They Eat?

Their diets mainly consist of flying insects such as mosquitoes, flies, moths, midges, butterflies, and even baby dragonflies.

Where Do They Live?

You will find dragon flies all over the world, except on the continent of Antarctica.

Habitat varies depending on which stage they’re in. They spend most of their lives in the water as nymphs, after which they mature into an adult stage that lasts for approximately two months.

Adults hang out and sleep mainly around wetland areas.

Interesting Facts

A dragonfly, scientifically known as Anisoptera and otherwise called Darner, frequents watery areas and is known for its sparkling wings and beautiful colors.

Additionally, these insects are labeled as good bugs, much like spiders, ladybugs, and praying mantises. Any of these beneficial insects is a great boon to a garden, as they help get rid of many unwanted pests.

Dragonflies start their lives as nymphs, hatching from tiny eggs and living in the water for about five years before maturing into adults and leaving the water permanently.

As mentioned earlier, the lifespan of adults is only a few months, and they live fast, eating everything in sight and reproducing quickly.

Dragonflies come from the Odonata order in the animal kingdom, sharing their lineage with their cousin, the Damselfly. They’re capable of flying backward as well as forward and stopping on a dime. They also possess incredible eyesight.

Protecting Dragonflies

Firstly, make sure that the water source you’ve created stays at a certain depth, creating a haven for their eggs. About two feet deep is good enough.

Secondly, be careful with insecticides. Using insecticides to deal with pest problems may hurt dragonflies, reducing their numbers drastically. And thirdly, not having exotic fish in the local waterways will greatly benefit dragonflies.

A Precious Treasure

Of the 307 species of North American dragonflies, many experts agree that roughly 15% of them are critically endangered. Many of these species dwell in small streams and ponds specifically as their ordained habitats.

We can protect dragonflies, but it does take a lot of effort. These helpful insects are some of nature’s best natural insecticides, so we cannot afford to lose them.


Dragonflies compare to hummingbirds both in beauty and their feeding habits. They are very important to the environment.

Dragonflies are also among the most beneficial insects we have readily available to assist us in our agricultural needs. See also: How to Encourage Lacewings in Your Garden.

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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