Green fingered Brits have been encouraged to introduce dragonflies into the garden as a natural pest control solution.
Gardening experts BillyOh.com have compiled a guide on how to attract dragonflies in order to keep other nuisance insects to a minimum.
Dragonflies are one of the most efficient – and graceful – methods of natural pest control, helping to keep irritating flies and mosquitoes in check.
These insects consume their own body weight in bugs each half – hour, and are able to fly at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, easily avoiding the grips of bigger predators like frogs and birds.
Large populations can be an indication of good air quality due to the fly’s sensitivity to air pollution.
Tips for ensuring a thriving dragonfly population in the garden include building a water feature, introducing a variety of rocks and avoiding harsh chemicals.
A spokesperson from BillyOh.com explained: “Providing a natural environment for dragonflies to thrive is a wonderful alternative to using harsh chemicals such as pesticides to get rid of pesky insects, which can also result in long term damage to the garden.
“Dragonflies are often overlooked but have been amongst the most effective methods of natural pest controls for decades.
“Homeowners should stay away from chemicals and instead focus on an eco – friendly option to control garden pests outdoors.”
Here is BillyOh.com’s five step guide to attracting dragonflies:
1. Build a pond
Dragonflies use deep water to hide from predators. You can also include a range of vegetation in the pond to provide food and shelter. The pond should have a variety of water depths in order to provide a fluctuating water temperature. If a pond is not an option for the garden, consider installing a water feature such as a fountain.
2. Introduce plants
It’s important to have a diversity of plants in and around the pond to support a thriving dragonfly population. Submerged plants provide a place for nymphs – baby dragonflies – to rest and seek food. Floating plants that are not rooted are also necessary as female dragonflies will lay eggs on the underside of the plant. Plants offer a place for dragonflies to hide and hunt.
3. Maintain a variety of rocks
Being cold-blooded, dragonflies bask in the sunshine to raise body temperature, so add rocks to the edge of the pond to provide a flat service for the dragonflies to land. Ensure there is a variation of different coloured rocks, as darker rocks tend to hold and radiate heat for longer whilst light coloured rocks can provide a cool alternative.
4. Avoid chemicals
Pesticide does not differentiate between good and bad insects. The chemical may make its way to the pond and affect the aquatic organisms such as the dragonfly nymphs, which are just as important as the adults as they eat the mosquito larvae in the water.
5. Control predators
Fish of all types will feed on dragonfly eggs and nymphs, so will drastically reduce the population of dragonflies. The same goes for frogs and ducks. Therefore, decide what the main objective is, as fish, frogs and ducks can all help to control the population of pests too.