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Dragonflies

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Order Odonata

Appearance

Adult dragonflies have two pair of wings. The back, or hind, wings are slightly larger at the base than the front wings. Dragonflies do not fold their wings when they land. Their wings extend from their body even when they are resting.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Dragonflies are predators throughout their life and consume a myriad of animals. On the menu are insects, including pests such as flies and mosquitoes. For this reason dragonflies are considered beneficial to man.

Reproduction

Adult dragonflies deposit their eggs in water or on aquatic plants. When the eggs hatch, the immature dragonflies, called naiads, live in the water. The naiads have gills in their abdomen so they can breathe under water. They also use the gills for a form of “jet propulsion” so they can move around in the water. Naiads eat mosquito larvae and other aquatic insects. Large naiads can even eat tadpoles and small fish.

When it is time for the naiad to change into an adult dragonfly, it crawls out of the water. Its skin splits and the adult emerges. This process takes several hours and it usually happens at night. After their wings are dry, the adult dragonflies fly away to find food. They return to the water to mate and lay eggs. The male dragonflies hover over the water and are often territorial about the breeding site.

Signs of a Dragonfly Infestation

Dragonflies do not infest indoors and therefore would not have any signs of infestation.

More Information

Dragonflies are large flying insects. They have been on earth for many years. Fossil records suggest that dragonflies in the Jurassic period may have been much larger than modern dragonflies. Dragonflies are members of the insect order Odonata. There are several species in the United States.

Photo of Dragon Fly
Photo of a Dragonfly

Most dragonflies can be considered beneficial. Some people call them “mosquito hawks” because they eat mosquitoes. They also eat gnats, flies and other flying insects. Dragonflies have even been seen eating winged termites as they fly out of the ground. In some cultures, dragonflies are considered good luck. In other cultures, they are considered bad luck.

Dragonflies very seldom invade homes and only accidentally through an open door or window. They are beneficial insects. Control would not be needed.