Dragonflies: Nature’s Mosquito Control

Encouraging dragonflies into your backyard is a highly effective methods of controlling mosquito populations. Dragonflies are voracious predators with an appetite for mosquitoes during different stages of their life cycle. These incredible insects therefore play an important role in reducing mosquito numbers. They provide a natural pest control solution that helps create a balanced ecosystem benefiting both humans and the environment.

Dragonfly drying it's wings after metamorphosis
Adult dragonfly © Karen Player

Dragonflies hunt insects like mosquitos in both their larval and adult forms. Dragonfly larvae are known as nymphs, are aquatic and inhabit ponds, lakes, and other water bodies. They actively seek mosquito larvae as part of their diet. A single dragonfly nymph can consume hundreds of mosquito larvae during its development.

As adults, dragonflies continue their role as mosquito hunters. With exceptional flying abilities and keen eyesight, dragonflies patrol the air, preying on adult mosquitoes. Their agile flight and remarkable speed enable them to catch mosquitoes in mid-air, reducing the adult mosquito population before they have a chance to lay eggs.

Life Cycle

Dragonflies go through incomplete metamorphosis. There are three stages of the dragonfly life cycle, the egg, the nymph, and the adult dragonfly. The female adult dragonfly lays its eggs near or in the water. The nymph hatches from the egg and spends this stage in the water. Most of the life cycle of a dragonfly is lived out in the nymph stage and you don’t see them at all.

The life cycle illustration of a dragonfly
Andrew Howells © Australian Museum

Creating Dragonfly-Friendly Habitats:

To encourage the presence of dragonflies and maximize their impact on mosquito control, individuals and communities can take several steps:

  • Create or maintain ponds, wetlands, and other water bodies to provide suitable habitats for dragonfly nymphs.
  • Minimize the use of chemical pesticides, as these can harm dragonflies and disrupt the delicate ecological balance.
  • Incorporate native plants around water bodies to provide suitable resting spots and breeding sites for adult dragonflies.
Dragonfly Garden infographic
Dragonfly Garden infographic © Australian Environmental Education

Harnessing the power of dragonflies as natural mosquito control agents presents an environmentally friendly and sustainable solution to the persistent mosquito problem. By fostering habitats that support dragonfly populations, we can embrace nature’s pest management system and contribute to a healthier, more balanced ecosystem for both humans and wildlife.

Find out what else you can do to create a wildlife friendly backyard with the What’s in your Backyard activity series.

Uncropped AEE logo with dragonfly icon