I was sitting at my computer pounding out one thing or another when movement outside the window at my left caught my attention. There was a swarm of large flying insects flitting back and forth making aerial acrobatics. They seemed to be flying randomly around the back yard. The frame of the window made it impossible for me to determine just how many insects there were.
I stopped and went out on the deck to see more of what was going on. The bugs were dragonflies. Dozens of them speeding back and forth making impossible turns in mid flight and pivoting once again in this mid-afternoon spectacle. I moved further away from the back door and the sun illuminated the reason for the amazing antics of the dragonflies.
Tiny fluffs of another insect were rising out of the grass and floated upward as the dragonflies snapped them up and turned for the next one. These smaller bugs were mosquitoes and they were making a feast for the dragons. Hundreds if not thousands of them became a meal for the predators that flew far faster and with superior agility. I watched for several minutes before returning to the computer and Googling: What do dragonflies eat.
The results confirmed my observations and showed my several YouTube video clips of everything one might want to see about dragonflies, and more. One site asserted that if I had lots of dragonflies around, it meant that the area was environmentally clean since the dragons were quite sensitive to contaminants.
This made perfect sense since I do not poison my grass nor fertilize it to make it better looking. The boy I pay to gut the grass uses a mulching mower that puts all the cuttings back into the soil. Hand weeding of the occasional dandelion and chick weed takes care of that.
A few days later I observed a swarm of dragonflies debugging my front lawn too. Across the street and on both side of my yard there were no feasts going on. Either I am the only one with "a lawn picnic" of insects or the other lawns are inhospitable to the dragons.
Later in the summer I will be welcoming the mantises that frequent my pine bushes for the feast that will be there.
The Realization: I read a web article that credited the warmer climate of Europe for the northern migration of mosquitoes. The little buggers are adaptive in that even in the presence of drought conditions they seem to be able to grow faster in the warmer days. While my back yard is in that newly developing sub-tropical climate of Maryland, USA, and the dragonflies love the area, so do the mosquitoes. The arrival of the Dragons coincides with the massive population burst of the mosquitoes. We have been getting almost daily rain in Central Maryland for the month of August 2012. Although not necessarily a pool of standing water, my backyard might have small breeding puddles down in the mat of grass that covers the soil like a carpet.
TweetTweet This Post