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Dragonflies Are Swarming

September 15th, 2013 by Lila Steinhoff


Dragonflies are beautiful, graceful creatures. I have a thing for dragonflies… so much so, that my husband gave me a mobile dragonfly yard ornament that has been placed next to my fountain. It’s so nice to watch when the wind catches it.

dragonfly yard ornamentDragonfly Yard Ornament

Swarms of Dragonflies

The summer of 2013 has been a season of dragonfly swarms.  I first noticed them toward the end of June, and they’ve been a recurring sight right up to today.

dragonfliesDragonfly Swarm

The dragonfly’s main food sources are mosquitoes and small flies. We have had so much rain in south Florida that the mosquito population has grown exponentially. It makes perfect sense that we would have greater than usual number of dragonflies.

It Takes Two Years!

I found out that, while mosquitoes go from eggs to flying, bloodsucking nuisances in three weeks to a month, dragonflies have a nymph stage that lasts about two years. Their eggs are laid in the water or on twigs and branches of plants hanging over the water.  When the nymphs hatch, they swim and grow in the water.

Once dragonflies emerge from the water, they grow to about three inches in length with a 4-inch wingspan. Their wings are transparent and perpendicular to their bodies. Damselflies are sometimes mistaken for dragonflies, but they are smaller and their wings are held parallel to their bodies. Dragonflies do not bite or sting people, but their nymphs can deliver a noticeable bite.

dragonflyDragonfly  (Entomology Department at University of South Florida)

These beautiful insects can eat their weight in mosquitoes in half an hour. According to the Smithsonian Institute, dragonflies are the fastest flying insect in the world reaching  35 miles per hour.

Fascinating to Watch

Dragonfly swarms set against the blue sky and white clouds are beautiful to watch. These were videoed flying in my backyard last week. They are back in force today… still fascinating and still beautiful.

The Flight of the Bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is performed by the US Army Band.




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  • These are in Gulf Western Florida Tampa Bay area today too! I love watching these guys fly around the sky. Watched them yesterday out by the pool these seem to work in groups and if they are killing and eating those blood suckers by the TON, then I am for them big time!
    Thanks for giving a a little background on these my new flying friends!

  • Nice work, Lila. I love your blog. The dragonflies are helping to keep the love bug population down. Most of the dragonflies in my yard are swarming low to the ground, maybe to avoid being eaten by the barn swallows flying overhead.