Dragonflies have always captured my imagination since I was a child. I used to lay down on my back in the grass in the early evening and watch them flit around the sky, darting back and forth. I can even remember a few times where dragonfly larva blessed the pond at my parents’ house. I’d watch them crawl out of the water and hatch out into adult dragonflies, leaving behind an empty shell that was so interesting to a young person. Learning how to attract dragonflies to my garden has been a high priority for me as an adult.
While I remember the dragonflies, I don’t remember any mosquitoes bothering me. And there may be good reason for that! A single adult dragonfly can eat anywhere from 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day. And not just that, but their larvae prey on mosquito larvae as well. Your dragonflies kill mosquitoes at nearly every stage of life!
How to attract dragonflies to your garden
Attracting dragonflies to your garden can be a little bit tricky. They take to the skies each day to find their food, meaning they don’t really need your garden for much of anything. You can plant flowers that will attract pollinators which will in turn attract dragonflies that eat them, but your best bet for bringing dragonflies to you is through a small pond.
Dragonflies require water to reproduce. They lay their eggs in bodies of water, where the larva then grow up and prey on small insects and animals that live in the pond. You don’t need a huge pond to attract dragonflies, but one at least two feet deep is ideal. Some have been able to breed dragonflies just in plastic tubs above ground.
A bucket of water by itself probably won’t attract dragonflies though. For reproducing, they look for natural bodies of water. They’ll want their egg laying location to have lots of plants for their nymphs to climb and hide under. Lots of aquatic plants is the name of the game.
Dragonflies also like stones that they can land on. Lining your small dragonfly pond with flat flagstones gives them a place to land and deposit their eggs.
As for other creatures in your pond, it’s generally recommended that you avoid large fish. These fish can feed on the young dragonflies as they grow and mature in the water, which defeats the purpose!
Avoiding a mosquito takeover
Here’s the reality of creating a dragonfly pond: the mosquitoes will probably find it before the dragonflies do. But that’s ok! You can add a pump to your little pond to ensure that the water is moving and debris is being skimmed from the top of the water. Mosquito eggs float, so if they can be easily skimmed off, that will help stymie their populations while the dragonflies slowly find your pond.