Do Dragonflies Really Eat Mosquitoes? How Many?

Hine's Emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) male perched in Barton Fen, Reynolds, Missouri, USA.
© Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: April 19, 2024

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Dragonflies are the most beautiful creatures on this planet. They are insects that fly around in various places, usually in tropical climates. Very few exist in other regions. Unfortunately, climate change and human destruction have threatened the dragonfly population, especially in wetlands. These colorful creatures are useful to the environment — they may get rid of horrid pests like mosquitoes. So the question remains, do dragonflies really eat mosquitoes? Let’s find out.

Do Dragonflies Eat Mosquitoes?

Common Clubtail Dragonfly

There are around 5,000 species of dragonflies throughout the world.

©Aneesh15 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

The simple answer is yes. But let’s get a little more detailed. Dragonflies are carnivorous insects. They eat a myriad of things including mosquitoes.

What else do they eat? Dragonflies also eat flies, bees, butterflies, and many other smaller insects that they can catch when they’re roaming around.

How Many?

dragonfly migrant hawker (Aeshna mixta) in flight

Dragonflies have been around for about 300 million years, making them some of the oldest insects on the planet.

©Petr Ganaj/Shutterstock.com

Dragonflies typically eat between 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes every day. This is perfect if you have a pond or water feature in your yard, which attracts mosquitoes. During summer, when mosquitoes are at their strongest, having plants that attract dragonflies will ensure that mosquitoes are nearly nonexistent.

How to Attract Dragonflies To Your Yard

dragonfly sitting on a flower

Dragonflies come in many colors, especially green and blue.

©Yevhenii Lukashuk/Shutterstock.com

So you might have a water feature or a pond in your yard to attract dragonflies, but those also attract mosquitoes. So what do you do? Besides that pond or other water source, you can also plant flowers or plants that attract dragonflies. By doing this, you’ll have dragonflies flying from all over.

Make sure you plant this vegetation close to the water source. This way, dragonflies will be able to fly to these pollinating plants or vegetation. They will also be close to the water source to eat the mosquitos, gnats, and other insects that could be attracted to the water source, as well.

  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Meadow sage
  • Aster
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Water Lily
  • Pickerelweed
  • Borage
  • Bearded Iris
  • Pink Muhly Grass
  • Common Cattail

Conclusion

And there you have it, dragonflies eat between 30 and hundreds of mosquitoes every single day. It’s important to have your yard with flowers and plants that will attract dragonflies. This way, they will eat up the mosquitoes and they won’t go buzzing around to annoy you. Next time you have a garden party in your yard, thank the dragonflies for eating those horrid mosquitoes.


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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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