This NJ insect eats mosquitoes and their larvae, but should we attract them?
Mosquito season is upon us in New Jersey, and most throughout the state quite frankly don't look forward to dealing with these unwanted insects. Fortunately, there are a few preventative steps we can take to help minimize the impact of these disease-carrying insects.
Recently I shared my story regarding certain flowers you can plant around your home to help repel mosquitoes. But for some, that might not be enough.
Fortunately, there are other options you could go with to further minimize the mosquito impact. And this solution not only repels them but also kills them.
A quick note, however, is that this solution might also have a slight negative impact on some homeowners. Not necessarily everyone, but just something to keep in mind.
If you're someone who wants to put a stop to mosquitoes without using harmful chemicals or repellents, then perhaps attracting dragonflies to your home is a good alternative.
Now one might ask, why dragonflies? It sounds so random to grow plants that attract them.
That may be true, but when it comes to controlling mosquito populations, having dragonflies around your home is very beneficial.
For one, dragonflies eat mosquito larvae. Even before they hatch, a dragonfly would handle the situation and make a meal out of them.
That's important since so many homeowners will have standing water somewhere after a rainstorm. Even if we think we spilled all of it after it rained, it's almost certain there's something we missed.
And it doesn't take much standing water either for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Even as little as a spoonful of standing water is enough for them to lay their eggs.
Of course, that might not be enough. What happens if other mosquitoes come flying in even after the eggs are eaten?
What'll happen is the dragonflies will make a meal out of the full-grown mosquitoes as well. It doesn't matter what stage a mosquito is at, the dragonfly will consume it.
As for attracting dragonflies to your yard, a lot depends on the plants themselves. There are certain types of vegetation you can go with that'll certainly increase the odds of dragonflies sticking around.
According to HGTV, you'll want to "plant a diverse landscape of trees and shrubs around the perimeter of the yard to provide hiding places for young dragonflies" along with a good "variety of blooming plants."
And, if possible, you'll also want to consider having a small pond put in since all dragonflies start their life in water. They'll spend as much as two months in the water as larvae, so having that pond is a good way to encourage dragonflies to lay their eggs around your home.
Also important are large rocks so larvae have a place to hide. The pond option, of course, isn't for everyone since not all yards are suited to have one installed properly.
Still, it doesn't mean dragonflies won't stick around if you don't have a pond. They'll still help control the mosquito population as long as they feel at home around your home with the right vegetation.
With all of that said, there is one thing to keep in mind when it comes to the diets of dragonflies. A dragonfly won't just limit itself to mosquitoes.
Aside from mosquitoes, dragonflies will also consume many pollinators that are beneficial to growing a garden. That could be bad news for those trying to grow vegetables during the warmer months.
It's not necessarily a dealbreaker, but it is something to keep in mind. Is it worth it trying to attract dragonflies if it's at the cost of losing necessary pollinators for your personal garden?
If this situation is a concern of yours, you can still have certain plants around your home that act as a natural repellent to mosquitoes. Check out the link below to see what you can plant that can help repel mosquitoes all season long.
If this particular situation doesn't affect you, however, then having dragonflies around your home would certainly benefit you in regard to helping keep mosquito populations in check.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.