How to get rid of Dragonflies

dragonflies anisoptera how to get rid of

Dragonflies are some of the most beneficial insects you could have in your yard. They mostly prey on insects like mosquitoes, so they are often used as a natural method of pest control. However, they can also be considered a nuisance themselves, especially to apiaries, because they also tend to feed on bees when the opportunity arises. If you do have a pond in your yard, and feel like the presence of dragonflies is more than you need, follow the steps below, to make sure you deter them from your property. Keep in mind that killing them would be a shame, as you might still need some to keep in check the other insects you have roaming around, but changing the landscape of your yard can do the trick and make your property seem less inviting to these insects.

dragonflies anisoptera how to get rid of

Removal from your yard and garden

The best method of deterring dragonflies from your property is by modifying your landscape in order to make it uninhabitable for them. If you closely check your yard, there is probably something that attracts them there, and that is the thing you need to get rid of. As with any other pest, eliminating their food source or shelter will help you in diminishing their presence. If you are having your garden affected by these insects, you need to check what are the main type of plants you are growing and see if the way you are taking care of them is the thing attracting the dragonflies. As these insects prefer a boggy environment and thrive near garden ponds and fountains, be sure you are also not overwatering your garden. This can also help in attracting the insects and giving them a beneficial place where to develop. As they normally lay their eggs in muddy or wet areas, a pond or fountain would also become a perfect environment for them. If you also have small fish in your pond, this can also serve as their meal, especially in their larval stage, so you can be sure that they will choose to lay their eggs there and use your property as their new home. As dragonflies can also stay in their nymph stage for several years, getting rid of them and protecting your fish from certain death will become a nuisance.

If you do choose to keep a pond in your yard, make note of the plants that attract dragonflies to it. A wide variety can support a thriving dragonfly population, so be sure to keep in check the plants you use in your pond. Submerged vegetation can help nymphs rest and search for food as they hide. Floating plants in ponds also help the development of a dragonfly’s habitat, as females normally lay their eggs on the underside of such plants or on their stems. Emergent plants are also beneficial for dragonflies. These are the type of plants that are rooted on the bottom of ponds and have stems and leaves which rise out of the water, being useful to dragonflies both in their larval and adult stage. Plants that grow on the shoreline can also give the dragonfly a place where it can hide and hunt. These type of plants, also known as marsh plants normally grow in moist soil, so will be likely found in natural ponds. Water lilies, water horsetail and arrowheads are only a few type of plants that can attract dragonflies to your yard or garden, so be careful when deciding to plant them and develop a pond or fountain.

Methods for keeping dragonflies away

There are times that dragonflies can be considered as nuisance as well, especially if they gather in huge numbers on your property. Even though they normally do not pose any threat to humans, having a yard full of flying insects is not something you would want. Although they are the best natural way of getting rid of mosquitoes of other annoying insects from your yard, you can also keep dragonflies away by reducing the amount of food they have available. Taking proper care of your garden and making sure you do not offer the mosquitoes the possibility to develop, you will also have fewer dragonflies to deal with. You can use insecticides in order to diminish the population of harmful insects, but keep in mind that too many chemicals will also affect the plants you have in your yard and garden.

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You can also try to deter mosquitoes away by making sure you do not have any stagnant water on your property. Random containers such as tin cans, coconut shells, old pet bowls, old tires, empty flowerpots, clogged gutters, unfiltered fish ponds, or simply an indentation in the ground where rainwater gathers will make the mosquito population thrive and so will that of dragonflies after. As they also eat other insects, not only mosquitoes, you need to keep your garden as clear of insects as possible, especially those that are prone to damage your flowers or vegetables. If all these types of bugs won’t be present, you will have a high chance of making the dragonflies go away as well, due to the lack of food. If you can also get rid of the water source you have near your house, your problem is already solved. However, if you are determined to keep your pond or you live next to a creek, stream or near a lake, and you cannot do anything about its existence, you will need to brace yourself for a long going confrontation with dragonflies.
Also make sure your constantly clean your pond, as this will help in preventing dragonfly larvae from becoming full grown insects. Taking out underwater foliage can also help, as there is where most nymphs hide. Also, if the adults do not have plants on which to perch, they will be less likely to chose your pond for laying eggs. Keeping the area clean and having fresh water in the pond will also keep the dragonflies away, so make sure you properly maintain your pond and garden, if you are determined to get rid of these insects.

As you can use dragonflies as predators for mosquitoes and other insects roaming through your garden, you can also introduce other predators meant to help you get rid of the dragonflies. Frogs and some type of fish feast on these insects, so introducing them to your pond might help you diminish the population, especially as they will mostly feed on the nymphs or dragonfly eggs. You can also make your yard attractive to birds, as they are also avid consumers of dragonflies. Install a bird feeder first, to encourage the birds to visit your yard, and let them take over from there, as once they see your yard is a great food source for fresh prey, they will often visit it.
Another mean of avoiding having dragonflies lay eggs in your yard is identifying the areas where they might breed, which will normally be places with standing water. If you do not have a pond or stream nearby, check your yard for containers, as these might be harbouring the larvae and be the breeding place of the dragonflies. For example, containers that have water should be emptied, and if they do need to have water, refill them constantly, to make sure the water is fresh. If the water has to stay there for a long time, you should try covering the container.

You can also try catching dragonflies with a skimming net, but this method is not a very effective one. They do fly slowly at first, and only gain momentum after they are up in the air, so you can try your luck and swipe the net a few time in order to catch them. This can work if you are dealing with a few insects, but if the infestation is larger, a long term method of pest control should rather be applied.

As with any other insect, prevention is the key. It will always be easier to keep your yard clean and prevent the development of a pest, than suffering the consequences of its presence and trying to get rid of it. For more preventive measures and advice on how to keep dragonflies in check on your property, visit our relevant article ‘Prevent infestation with dragonflies’.

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