If you are plagued by mosquitoes and are looking for a natural way to deal with these insects, Mother Nature has a solution for you — dragonflies. Over 80 percent of a dragonfly’s brain is used to process visual information.
Some species can detect movement as far as 60 feet away. Dragonflies have a voracious appetite and can eat up to 100 mosquitoes every day. To attract dragonflies onto your property, you need to create a pond in your garden and plant certain flowers.
A pond for dragonflies
Dragonflies tend to lay their eggs in or near a body of water. The eggs hatch and develop into nymphs, which live in the water for months or years before coming out as adults. Even during their nymph stage, dragonflies are excellent mosquito hunters.
The pond in your garden need not be large. However, it should be in an area that receives about six hours of midday sun and is protected from the wind. The depth at the edges of the pond should be shallow. The deepest point must be no more than 2 feet. You can place plants in and around the pond. They act as resting and hiding places for nymphs. Some species of dragonflies also tend to insert their eggs into the soft stems of the plants.
“Tall plants that stick out of the water provide places for adult dragonflies to perch and scan for food or mates. They also allow a place for the nymphs to climb up to undergo their transformation process from nymph to adult… It takes several days before the wings harden completely and take on the colors of an adult dragonfly,” according to Popular Mechanics.
Ideal plants to attract dragonflies
Meadow Sage is a perennial plant with purple flowers that usually attracts small insects and butterflies. It doesn’t need much water to grow once well-established and can even manage to survive in drought conditions. As such, it makes an excellent choice if you live in a region with water scarcity and are plagued by mosquitoes. The area where this plant grows tends to get tinted by the color of its flowers.
Dwarf Sagittaria is a plant that often gets mistaken for a weed at first look. But rest assured, it’s not. It is an aquatic plant that requires a nutrient-rich substrate and hard water in order to grow. So if you plan on building a pond, Dwarf Sagittaria should be ideally planted in the water.
Black-Eyed Susans are ideal for low-maintenance gardeners. “Black-eyed Susans attract butterflies and other pollinators — a popular choice of the dragonfly. These bright yellow wildflowers typically live for around two years in climates that remain warm for most of the year, and will die off once winter hits in cooler climates. They adapt well to nearly every type of soil and require full sunlight and regular watering to bloom,” according to The Science Times.
White Yarrow has fern-like foliage that attracts parasitic wasps, butterflies, etc. This plant will thrive in conditions where the sun is full, moisture is dry to medium, and the soil is well-drained. White yarrow has been used for medicinal purposes in the past.
Joe-Pye Weed has either pink or purple flowers that bloom from mid-summer to fall. Bees and butterflies flock to this plant. The flowers often smell like vanilla and the smell gets more intense when they are crushed. The plant grows to be 3 to 12 feet tall.