A Dozen Dragonflies

This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on May 29, 2015 at (beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com/).   Click the date to view reader comments.

Male Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) are probably the most eyecatching of Odonata
Male Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) is probably the most eyecatching of Odonata

This time of year it is always a playground of critters at my place. Especially noticeable in recent weeks is the return of the numerous species of dragonflies that grace my place.

Mating Banded Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis fasciata)
Mating Banded Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis fasciata)

Having a pond is key to encouraging reproducing Odonata. Don’t have room for a pond? As long as there is a similar water source in the neighborhood, you can build a habitat to encourage the adults to come hang around at your place.

Ornate Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis ornata)
Ornate Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis ornata)

Leaving some taller, dried debris is a great way to keep them around. Dragonflies like to land on dried materials, be it spent bluestem grasses or dried remains of Bidens alba or a failing branch of a Redbud tree. Don’t be too quick to snip off dead branches. There is life in those branches if you just are patient enough to see who lands.

Common Green Darner (Anax junius) on Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium)
Common Green Darner (Anax junius) on Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium)

An added benefit of enticing adult dragonflies to your garden is that since dragonflies are predatory on other insects you’ll get free pest control services. Just be sure to avoid pesticide use as pesticides kill beneficial as well as insects you may want to discourage. Let your natural pest control agents (the dragonflies) handle the job in an environmentally friendly, chemical-free manner.

Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly (Perithemis tenera)
Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly (Perithemis tenera)

This week’s visitors were hanging out in the front half of the property, away from the pond. Must have been looking to eat:

Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula vibrans)
Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula vibrans)
Bar-winged Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula axilena)
Bar-winged Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula axilena)
Little Blue Dragonlet Dragonfly (Erythrodiplax minuscula)
Little Blue Dragonlet Dragonfly (Erythrodiplax minuscula)
Golden-winged Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula auripennis)
Golden-winged Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula auripennis)
Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)

Already over-tidied the garden?  Find some wooden stakes and pound them into the ground as landing and lookout stations for your dragonfly friends.

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