Florida’s Natural Pest Control: Dragonflies

 

Band-winged dragonlet female

Female band-winged dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrata)

From the tiny Eastern Amberwing, to the flamboyant Halloween Pennant, dragonflies are some of the most important and charismatic beneficial bugs. They’re indiscriminate predators of many pest insects, including mosquitoes, flies, ants and wasps.

A dragonfly’s life-cycle revolves around water, so it’s no surprise that Florida is home to more than 150 species of odonates (dragonflies and their relatives, damselflies.) Their eggs are laid in water, where dragonflies spend the majority of their life as nymphs. There, they feed on invertebrates such as mosquito larvae, and sometimes even vertebrates such as tadpoles or small fish.

After months or even years in the water, dragonflies transform into one of the fastest and most agile flying insects. Their four broad wings combine with large, discriminating eyes to create an efficient visual predator. Because they hunt by sight, dragonflies are most active and most often seen on sunny days. They will usually be found around ponds, streams, drainage ditches or other wet or marshy areas, though a few species will wander a little farther afield. Thanks to our warm climate, many species in Florida are in-season year-round.

A number of dragonfly species are sexually dimorphic, with males and females displaying wildly different coloration and patterns. Male scarlet skimmers (Crocothemis servilia), for example, are bright red, as their name would suggest. The females, on the other hand, are a plainer yellow.

Regardless of species, all dragonflies are voracious insect predators. Many can be seen patrolling over ponds or parking lots, feasting on midges and mosquitoes. Others perch on branches or reeds, waiting to ambush the next fly to bumble by.

Next time you see one zip across your yard, consider saying thanks to the dragonfly for helping to control the pest population.

If mosquitoes, flies, ants or wasps are creating a problem for you and dragonflies just aren’t enough of a natural pest control, then you may need a Cape Coral Pest Control Company. We’ve served the needs of Southwest Florida since 1978, offering a complete line of services for both residential and commercial properties, including:  pest controlmosquito control, and termite protection. For more information on controlling these and other household pests contact us online or simply call (800) 314-8813.

– Keith