BY Donna Westfall
Pictures by staff photographer, Janice Wilson
While you won’t see many honey bees around this year, you will see bumble bees and dragonflies.
Dragonflies are insects. They typically eat mosquitoes and other small insects. They are valued as predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as “nymphs”, are aquatic. Adult dragonflies do not bite or sting humans, though nymphs are capable of delivering a painful but harmless bite.
Currently there are probably between 5500 and 6500 species in total. Most temperate-zone species live as adults less than a month, though some species can live as long as six months.Their natural enemies include birds, spiders, frogs, larger dragonflies. In the larval stage, they are preyed on by fish, frogs, toads and newts, and other water invertebrates.
Dragonflies been around about 300 million years. Huge dragonflies were flying when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They don’t have teeth, but do have very strong mandibles in which to crush their prey. It is estimated that the top speed for a dragonfly is between 19 to 38 miles per hour.