As far as insects go, dragonflies aren't a dangerous species to have buzzing about your yard. Dragonflies don't pose any threats to humans, they can eat true insect pests, and they attract birds to your yard. If, however, the sheer number of dragonflies in your yard is a nuisance and annoys you, there are several ways to get rid of them without resorting to pesticides or killing these highly beneficial insects.
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Target Insect Food
Because killing dragonflies is usually completely unnecessary, a better idea is to make your yard less attractive to them. For example, dragonflies eat mosquitoes, and taking steps to eradicate them from your yard can deter dragonflies from taking up residence. Preventing water from pooling in low spots in your yard is one way to reduce the mosquito population.
Taking proper care of your garden is essential too. Dragonflies feast on many insects that can damage flowers and vegetables, so watering and caring for the plants properly can prevent pests from invading your yard to begin with. If these bugs aren't present, chances are that the dragonflies will go somewhere else.
Dry Up the Water
Dragonflies are attracted to water, so if you have a pond, creek, or stream in your yard, you're also likely to have dragonflies. Even if the water source isn't directly in your yard, but you live near a lake, you might see dragonflies in your yard regularly. If you're determined to get rid of the winged insects, getting rid of these water sources, if possible, can help.
Introduce Natural Predators
Introducing predators into your yard can help you get rid of dragonflies in a more natural and life-cycle sort of way. For example, frogs and toads eat dragonflies, so encouraging the amphibians to occupy your yard can help take care of the problem. Many other forms of wildlife feast on dragonflies as well, including birds, foxes, lizards, praying mantids, raccoons, robber flies, skunks, snakes, spiders, and turtles.
If you have a water source, such as a pond that you don't want to get rid of on your property, consider putting fish in it. Some types of pond fish are voracious hunters of adult dragonflies, as well as dragonfly eggs and larvae, so keep it well stocked. Making your yard attractive to birds with birdseed, adequate bird houses, and bird-friendly garden plants as well as water sources, such as birdbaths, can also help. Species of birds that prey on dragonflies include ducks, falcons, flycatchers, herons, kingfishers, kites, sandpipers, and swallows.
Additional Dragonfly Tips
If you have a backyard pond, clean it regularly, which will prevent dragonfly larvae from developing into full-grown insects. Dragonfly nymphs are usually located on underwater foliage, so taking these plants out can help too.
Keeping the area around a water source that you can't get rid of clean and clear might reduce the number of dragonflies as well. The insects need areas to perch, and if there isn't anywhere to do that, they'll likely seek out another area to live. Control insect pests as best you can to reduce the dragonfly food supply in the area. Increasing human activity in areas where there are numerous dragonflies is another potential way to cut down on the dragonfly population.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.