Dragonflies, Oh Dragonflies

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Take a stroll down a lake, creek, or marsh, and we guarantee that you will be greeted by a swarm of dragonflies.  These hulking, flying critters come off as extremely intimidating at first, but we assure you that they mean you no harm.  To prove it, we wrote this blog, detailing the beneficial reasons for keeping dragonflies around, and why we see them out in droves this time of year.  Enjoy!

First, let us address the question of why you see them out during this time of year.  Like everything else in the animal kingdom, dragonflies have acute life cycles, with their peak maturity occurring in these warmer months.  However, before that, these critters have spent a considerable amount of time as larvae in freshwater, which is why you’ll find a bunch near these sources.  Maturity for the dragonfly can take anywhere from a few months to a few year, so their coming-of-age is a big deal for them!

Now, all these dragonflies are going to need something to eat, and this is where they are considered a benefit to us humans.  Like a bone to a dog or fish to a cat, the best meal a dragonfly can hope for is one of mosquitoes—and they love them so much, an adult dragonfly can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a day!  With a 90% success rate of capturing their prey—thanks to their speed and 280-degree vision, a couple can sure cut through a colony of mosquitoes in no time.

So it dragonflies eat so many mosquitoes, how come people always seemed spooked out by them, or try to swat at them?  The best answer we can give is their appearance, as they seem real menacing at first glance.  Many people may mistake their “tail” for that of a stinger—and if that was a stinger, we may be freaked out, too!  But no, that part of their body is only used to aid in flight, not to inflict pain.  Dragonflies can bite, but they are no means aggressive, and will only bite in extreme situations of self-defense, like if you were to cup it in your hands and not let if fly away.  Many legends have surround these critters as well, like “If you tell a lie, a dragonfly will come to sew your mouth shut.”  Based on our experience and the plethora of science out there, we can say that this is not true.  There is nothing to fear, other than fear itself, when coming across a swarm of dragonflies!

So go on, go out and enjoy the blazing hot weather, without the fear of the dragonfly.  In fact, tip your cap to them the next time you meet—they are part of the reason you are not covered in mosquito bites every day!

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