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Dragonflies are beautiful and intelligent creatures. The dragonfly stands as a symbol of transformation in many cultures throughout the whole world. This is the reason why they have been used as a perfect theme for a kid’s room as transformation is taking place. This is not the only transformation for kids, but also a transformation for you.
According to some cultures, dragonflies are a sign of good luck or prosperity. Many people make a wish when they see a dragonfly and think that it will come true. Plenty of dragonflies meant there was plenty of fish around. If a fisherman sees a dragonfly, he thinks that he is lucky. They can be a blessing to humans as they help control the population of mosquitoes by feasting on them when they are huge in number. Dragonflies also eat ants, termites, butterflies, houseflies, honey bees, and other insects. They hunt in groups when they find large colonies of insects.
Dragonflies are used in medicines in Japan and China. The adults as well as nymphs form a very popular delicacy in Indonesia. Pieces of jewelry also have been decorated by using dragonflies, especially the necklace in North America. They are symbols of strength, happiness, and courage in Japan.
What are Dragonflies?
Dragonflies are well known because of their vibrant colors and large compound eyes. They have large flat wings which allow them to fly so speedily. There are different types of dragonflies with different adaptations according to their habitat. There are more than 5,000 species of them in the entire world.
As all insects consist of three distinct sections, dragonfly also consists of three parts: the head, the abdomen, and the thorax. It has an exoskeleton. The head is the shortest part of its body about 1 to 4 inches in length with large compound eyes and short antennae. Its head is mostly covered with its eyes by which it can see 360 degrees around them.
Dragonflies have color-proteins that provide the ability to see more colors than a human eye can see. On the thorax, it has two pairs of flat wings about 6 inches and three pairs of segmented legs. The wings are long but unique due to its transparency and coloring. The wings are connected with the body via very strong muscles. It helps the insect in flying for long distances at very high speed. When it lands, its wings are found to be seen horizontal to its body because like some insects, it also does not fold its wings.
They developed a better mechanism for flight. They evolved new strong indirect flight muscles. These new flight muscles meet at the thorax, where the two pairs of wings arise. In this case, these strong muscles permit flight. This action permits flight with power. They have other muscles that control the pitch of the wings. This is the type of indirect muscle action that is only found in highly evolved insects.
Some people ask about dragonflies like if they can walk. Dragonflies cannot walk. Their legs are only designed for grasping. Their legs are perfect for grabbing insects or resting on a plant. Dragonflies are also called fighter jets. They are super fast. They are able to grab a flying insect in a blink of an eye. Dragonflies do not have any sting like some other insects, but they have mandible. A mandible is a pair of jaws which insects use for cutting or holding food. They sometimes try to bite with this pair of mandible. But they usually do not hurt but if you harass them, then yes they can bite you. This would break your skin, though it depends on the dragonfly. That is, different species hurt differently.
What do Dragonflies eat?
Dragonflies are carnivores. These are those animals or insects which feed on other animals or insects. Dragonflies eat butterflies, moths, midges, beetles, mosquitoes, bees, flies, bugs, spiders, and caterpillars. They also eat larvae of some animals which include tadpoles, fishes, mosquitoes, and sometimes other small dragonflies. Their jaws are very strong with sharp teeth.
When their prey are larger insects, they attack its head and then drag it back to its perch. They catch their prey while flying. They use their long segmented legs to catch their prey. As they have great eyesight, they can detect even the slightest movement. They can detect ultraviolet lights and polarization, as well as colors with their large optic brain lobes. They have a great ability to see underwater. Their nymphs are also hunters. They eat most of the living things around them underwater.
Dragonflies get water from the insects they eat. They will however drink water occasionally when bathing.
Do Dragonflies Eat Honey Bees?
The straight up answer to the question is yes. Dragonflies eat honey bees as well as other insects. Remember, dragonflies are carnivores that have no bias when it comes to what they can eat. They will target any potential meal, including bees and devour them mercilessly. They have an advantage over bees given their strong jaws and sharp teeth. Dragonflies can ambush bees during their daily foraging activity.
Signs of a Dragonfly Infestation
Dragonflies are found around ponds and stagnant water. They always find water attractive as they prey on tiny insects from that water. They also lay eggs in water. Their nymphs are also found in it. When you find stagnant water or rivers, you can be sure that dragonflies are near it. They also are present in containers as they mate in water, lay eggs in water, and also prey from it.
How to deal with Dragonflies
Dragonflies do not pose any danger to humans since they hardly ever bite humans. However, a vast number of them can be a nuisance in your backyard. It is quite a challenge to get rid of dragonflies without using pesticides or killing them. Fortunately, some techniques can help control dragonflies as explained below.
Beekeepers can apply various strategies when dealing with dragonflies. You can also try them in your area, garden or near your ponds. These include the following:
- If you want to get rid of dragonflies, you have to first know the things that attract them, so you can do the opposite. You should make your area or yard less appealing. Remove stagnant water and clean all water of birdbaths, fountains, pet dishes frequently. Also, empty any rainwater. Keep in mind that water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Dragonflies feed on bees and mosquitoes, if they don’t find their food, they will not come closer to your yard. Keep your pool clean and covered when they are not in use. Also, make sure about the area around the pool, it should also be clean and dry.
- As dragonflies are natural predators for mosquitoes and some other insects in our gardens, we can also use some other predators which prey on dragonflies, such as frogs and some types of fish. They feed on these insects so we can keep such fish in our ponds. This might help. You can also make your garden attractive for birds, as they also eat dragonflies.
- High temperature can be given provided to ponds or aquariums; this will kill dragonflies and their nymphs. The temperature must be about 83 degrees F constant for a few days.
- You may fit the pump or filtration system in your pool. This will capture larvae in your drains.
- Dragonflies get attracted to flat rocks as they use them for basking in the sun. So make sure to remove them too.
- Snail-killing potions are also suggested as it is an effective way to kill invertebrates attached to plants. This can be used during the quarantine. Plants can be a dip in the snail-killing potion for about 10 to 20 minutes. This will remove snails, as well as dragonflies that prey on snails.
- Cover your pond. It is going to be expensive but it will 100% work, as dragonflies need heat for breading. This covering will inactive them for breeding, eating as well as escaping from predators.
- You can also try skimming a net to catch dragonflies but this method is not very effective. It can work if you are dealing with a small number of insects. Just try your luck! If this does not work then go for a long-term method of pest control.
- If there is a pond near your area which cannot be removed, then try to keep it clean. Make sure to clean or filter it every day. According to research, dragonflies nymphs are located on underwater foliage. This will reduce the number of dragonflies and reduce their population.
So yes, dragonflies do eat honey bees. Normally, they don’t pose much of a threat, however in large numbers. In some areas, dragonflies are found in great numbers and it is hard to get rid of them. If you have tried your options to keep their population low, then you should call your local professional exterminator. They will send their team to your doorsteps with a plan to get rid of them. The treatment will be repeated a few times, or maybe after every week, or couple months to keep dragonflies away. This will not be that expensive as dragonflies come during the summer season only.