DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — From the parking tons to the sand dunes, 1000’s of dragonflies are bringing a wonderment to Northwest Florida.
The sheer quantity of dragonflies at Okaloosa Island’s Princess Seashore entry on Tuesday, Sept. 20 triggered dozens of spectators to cease and watch the excitement.
Insect diagnostician Dr. Meredith Shrader with the Auburn Extension Workplace defined how and once they come about.
“Dragonflies are fantastic issues to see on the coast and so they’re there due to the big quantities of rainfall that happen,” mentioned Shrader. “They’re advantageous breeders in water, in order that they’re going to be laying eggs in streams and ponds and swimming pools, and even puddles which are there lengthy sufficient for them to put eggs and full their life cycle.”
Dragonfly meals consists of different bugs. Shrader mentioned the place mosquitos breed, dragonflies additionally reproduce.
“After all, now we have mosquitoes that additionally like to put eggs in water and so the mosquitoes get eaten by the dragonflies, so the dragonflies have an exquisite meals supply down on the coast,” mentioned Shrader.
The physician herself even discovered child dragonflies this yr in surprising locations.
“I’ve seen them this summer season within the kids’s paddling pool,” mentioned Shrader. “We had about 5 dragonfly nymphs within the paddling pool feeding on the mosquito larva, in order that was one thing enjoyable for the kids to see since we see the dragonflies as adults flying round, however only a few folks know that dragonfly nymphs are the newborn variations, and so they stay within the water, consuming issues like mosquito larva and worms, and typically even tadpoles if they’ll get them.”
What the dragonflies eat additionally relies on their measurement.
“Bigger dragonfly nymphs will go after tadpoles, after which once they’re adults there, the bigger dragonflies are going to have the ability to take down moths and butterflies and the smaller dragonflies go after the smaller prey objects equivalent to flies or mosquitoes or gnats,” mentioned Shrader. “However they nonetheless can eat a whole lot of these objects so the dragonflies are serving to us out so much by consuming a few of these mosquitoes across the atmosphere.”
A bunch of dragonflies known as a flight. When they’re feeding collectively known as a static swarm, when flying from space to space, it’s known as a migratory swarm.
These animals nevertheless should not recognized emigrate long-term. As an alternative, they reproduce in areas with excessive concertation of their meals supply. Shrader mentioned recognizing flights on the seashore is sensible as a result of that’s the place mosquitos might be.
“The mosquitoes are interested in people and you recognize our physique warmth and the CO2 we give off, and so the mosquitoes are there after which the dragonflies observe their prey objects,” mentioned Shrader. “And the water atmosphere is sweet for them as a laying atmosphere and likewise the forms of flowers that may be round and likewise the grasses, the dragonflies like to make use of these lengthy dune grasses to form of perch on and relaxation.”
What are you able to do with Dragonflies?
Briefly, take pleasure in them. Dr. Shrader mentioned children of all ages can have a ball with the flying bugs.
“Dragonflies could be fantastic little pets for the day. If you happen to seize one utilizing a sweep web or a butterfly web, you’ll be able to, being very cautious, tie a string onto one of many legs of the dragonfly,” mentioned Shrader. “Don’t let toddlers maintain them in fact, as a result of they’ve, you recognize, squishy arms, they prefer to squish issues. However older kids can have that dragonfly as a pet for a day on the string.”
Dragonflies are generally seen within the fall months in Florida. Dr. Shrader mentioned they’ll stick round till the primary arduous frost.
“The dragonflies are out in full drive proper now. They’ve had, you recognize, the summer season to develop within the water and hatch out and so they’re out consuming all types of bugs round,” mentioned Shrader. “Sadly, the arduous frost tends to kill a whole lot of the bugs, so we shouldn’t have the ability to see them now till, you recognize, late October, starting of November relying on when that arduous frost occurs.”