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If you were not near a lake or pond you may have wondered what they were doing there. It is true dragonflies need permanent standing water for their larval stage which can last months to years, but when it is not breeding season, adult dragonflies can venture miles away. For many Michigan residents, chances are you are close enough to a pond or lake that you may regularly see dragonflies in your local garden. Not only are dragonflies beautiful and fun to watch, but they also eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day.
Installing a lush rain garden filled with native plants is one option that has many additional benefits. The self-watering design of most rain gardens often allows them to retain the cool air and moisture that dragonflies prefer. Also, rain gardens are meant to only hold water for 24-48 hours after a rain event, so they do not support mosquito larvae which need at least a week of standing water to develop. Another benefit of rain gardens is they help clean pollutants that might otherwise reach a pond or lake. Since dragonfly larvae are somewhat sensitive to pollution, clean waters may help more dragonflies survive.
If you would like to learn how to make your own rain garden or volunteer in a public garden you can find more information here: https://bit.ly/WCWRC-Rain
This brief article has good information on protecting dragonflies in water bodies: https://bit.ly/MSU_Dragonfly
Photo by: Master Rain Gardener Linda Preiskorn.