I love my Dragons and this time of year they are flitting and dancing all over my yard.Why do I have so many?I have them because I cater to their needs.All species of dragonfly need access to water.I have two water gardens, one set up just for them.All species of dragonfly need access to water.
Dragonfly larvae live underwater from six months to seven years before before emerging to land as an adult dragonfly. Dragonflies are particular about the ponds they’ll inhabit. They must have shelter, sunlight, unpolluted water, emergent plants and hunting areas. My ponds are large but you dont have to go out and dig up your backyard .In the sweltering heat of the summer any source of clean water will bring them .I have a large birdbath right by my front door and since July there have been a dozen or more claim sanctuary there.And what a pleasure to watch them in the last minuets of the day dancing though out the Fey garden.
Dragonflies are quick to find new water sources, so creating a water feature in your garden will attract dragonflies with fast results. This can be anything from a water garden to a child’s wading pool .An old rain barrel is a great play ground for them and its deep enough for the nymphs also.
Deep water is important for dragonfly nymphs. It offers them a place to hide from predators. Having varied depths in your dragonfly pond is also important because it will allow a variety of different vegetation. The vegetation isn’t for feeding .Dragonflies like their namesakes are carnivorous, plants provide the nymphs a play to hide from predators ,and as adults a place to perch and hunt.
Dragonflies don’t rely on certain host plants to nourish their young the way butterflies do, although some species of dragonfly use water plants as nurseries. They insert their eggs into the soft stems of plants.
Pond vegetation is also critical for dragonflies because the nymphs crawl up the water plants when they emerge and make the transformation from water creatures to free-flying adult dragonflies. Dragonflies look quite fierce ,but believe me the nymphs are truly creepy.I took this next picture a month or so ago ,mainly because you dont often get to see a dragon in this form.Really the only reason I got this picture was because I was cleaning out my pond.When I happened upon this ugly little critter I dashed for the camera and got a shot before putting it back in the water. So try to remember no matter how strange or alien a bug looks …dont stomp it just because you dont like its looks!
The plants you put around your pond /water feature are as important as the water plants in it. Never mow the border of your dragonfly pond. Let the grasses and rushes grow. Plant some shrubs within a few feet of the water to provide more perching sites.
Since it can take some time for pond plants to get established, you can place some perching sticks in the middle of your pond while you are waiting for your vegetation to grow above the surface of the water. Ordinary stakes, like the the kind used to stake tomato plants, work well.This is also a way to give them what they need if their kingdom at your home is a birdbath or such a thing that dosnt lend to growing plants in it.The important thing is to provide them the water if its not a suitable place for them to lay eggs they will simply go elsewhere for that.Attracting the Dragons and setting up a place they want to lay eggs are two entirely different things dears.I breed them because I have ponds so for me it just happens. lol the only real effort Ive ever had to give this project was a few years back I made a small shallow pond with one deep (2ft) spot in the middle,this pond is solely for them and the frogs I didn’t add fish since it was intended as a nursery. (fish eat the nymphs and eggs)The plants,shrubs ,flowers they were already there and because of my obsessive hoarding of the wood I prune during gardening there’s always a perch.Come mating time Oh My They are getting it on everywhere even my tomatoes are considered the proper place for some Dragon nookie!
Below you’ll find a few pointers for those you wish to lure some to your realm.Also keep watch for my post “Dragonflies As Portents And Totems 😉
1 > If you want breeding populations of dragonflies in your pond, do not add fish. They will prey on the nymphs and eggs.
2 > Add some light colored flat stones around their water source,the color lures them in and the stone gives them a warm place to sun.
3 > Most dragonflies wont use polluted ponds. Make sure you dont spray herbicides or fertilizers near or up-wind from your pond. To replace fertilizer, try making your own compost.
4 > Make sure that less than 30 per cent of your pond is shade covered. Dragonfly larvae are cold blooded, so they need sunlight. Without enough heat, they are inactive and stop breeding, eating or escaping from predators. Adult dragonflies are solar-powered and need to reach a certain temperature before they can fly.
5 > Provide great hunting ground for your dragonflies by building a small wildflower grassland close to your pond to attract small insects.
6 > Please remember, if you are attracting dragonflies to your backyard to control the mosquito population, be sure that you do not also use bug zappers. These will zap your dragonflies, but they are ineffective for zapping mosquitoes.If you want rid of the mosquitoes build a bat house ;p
So there you have it …..a peek at my fierce babies ,I hope you’ve enjoyed it!