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Mosquitoes in garden? Know the natural predators

Buzzzzzzzzz....


Mosquitoes, that buzzing sound in ears- one of the most irritating sounds for humans. People hate mosquitoes. They spread diseases, killing thousands of people. While mosquitoes are such a menace are they any benefits to us?


Well, wiping out mosquitoes would also wipe out a group of pollinators. Nectar is the primary food for all adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also serve as a food source for other lives. Hence they cannot be eliminated from the system. Every species in an ecosystem has an important role. Nature has its way of handling situations. Understanding each species' life cycle and learning the food chain (who eats what) would find the answers.




Natural Predation


Do you like dragonflies? Dragonflies and damselflies come in a variety of stunning colors and patterns on thier wings. It's beautiful to watch them fly around.

Dragonflies and damselflies (odonates) are important biocontrol agents of some harmful insects like mosquitoes, flies and aphids. Adults can have more than 300 mosquitoes at a time. They eat both mosquitoes and their larvae. They also prey on some beneficial insects like butterflies, moths, wasps and beetles.



Understanding the life of Odonates


Odonates - Dragonflies and damselflies, mate and lay their eggs in flowing or stagnant water (clean water). The larvae feed on various small aquatic organisms. They live for months underwater. Adults emerge during late evening or early morning and inhabit the landscape surrounding the water area. Odonates are very sensitive to landscape changes. Hence it's important to keep their environment clean and healthy.



Concept Drawing of a pond ecosystem for attracting Dragonflies &Damselflies by Sivani



How to attract Dragonflies to your garden?


The easiest way to attract dragonflies to your garden is to provide the right kind of habitat.

  • Clean and fresh water

Having a small pond is the best way to attract dragonflies. Shallow water sources like water baths wouldn't aren't good enough for them. At least a 2 feet-deep pond is required. If you don't have enough space, that's okay, they can fly a certain distance to find water. You can include native plants that attract pollinating insects to ensure enough food for them.

  • Floating or submerging plants in the water

You can include floating plants lilies and lotus in the pond. Dragonflies lay eggs in water, or deposit them in pierced submerged, or floating plants.

  • Nectar blooms on the edges

Add more flowering plants (colors and smell ) on the edges to invite other insects, as they ensure a continuous supply of food for the dragonflies.

  • Tall & wispy plants to hide out

Dragonflies enjoy such plants to rest on and to hide out from predators.

  • Flat rocks for them to rest on

They also enjoy resting on flat surfaces and taking in the heat.



Also,

other predators like fish and bats help in controlling the mosquito population. If you are planning to have dragonflies and fish together, do not add large fish as they may feed on the dragonfly eggs & larvae. Small fish like guppy would be beneficial.

Include herbs and plants like lemon grass, citronella, etc. that have a strong smell or yield essential oils on the edges to repel mosquitoes.

Most important, clean the water storage areas often. Remove unwanted water standing or stagnant water.



Try out these natural methods to not just keep away mosquitoes but also other harmful pests in your garden.


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