Benefits Of Dragonflies For Ponds

Dragonflies are beneficial insects for ponds and water gardens.

They help to control mosquitoes, flies and other insects, so you can enjoy your outdoor area without being harassed by annoying insects.

Having dragonflies around your pond is also a good sign of a healthy pond ecosystem.

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Dragonfly in pond

Dragonflies are expert insect catchers and they’re able to hover, fly forward and backwards to catch their prey.

They also have excellent eyesight, with two large compound eyes that have thousands of lenses and three smaller eyes with simple lenses. [1]

Dragonfly nymphs eat mosquito larvae in the water and adult dragonflies eat mosquitoes as well as flies, beetles, moths and other flying insects.

Dragonfly life cycle

A clean source of water like a backyard pond, water garden or lake is essential for dragonflies to breed because they lay their eggs in water, usually at the base of a plant.

When the eggs hatch, the nymphs live in the water and eat mosquito larvae, insects and tadpoles.

Once the nymph matures, it will turn into a dragonfly by emerging from the water, splitting it’s skin and crawling out. [2]

Different species of dragonflies emerge throughout the year, so you may see dragonflies year round near your backyard pond.

dragonfly near water

How to attract dragonflies to your pond

Planting a variety of different aquatic plants in and around your pond will help to attract dragonflies and their close relatives, damselflies.

Marginal plants like irises, bacopa and bull rush that grow in shallow water are ideal for dragonflies to lay their eggs at the base of the plant.

Dragonfly nymphs can also use marginal plants to climb out the pond when they’re ready to transition to adult dragonflies.

Floating plants like water lilies and water lettuce provide a place for adult dragonflies to rest while they’re hunting for insects.

Flowering garden plants and vegetable plants will attract plenty of small insects to your garden that dragonflies can feed on.

Rocks are also beneficial for dragonflies. Laying some large flat rocks around the edge of the pond will give the dragonflies a place to sun themselves.

You can also place a few overhanging rocks at the edge of the pond for the dragonfly nymphs to hide underneath.

Hollow logs or driftwood placed in shallow areas of the pond are also good hiding places for nymphs and they can use the logs to crawl out the water.

dragonfly on pond log

Things to avoid

Most fish will eat dragonfly larvae swimming underwater, so if you want to attract dragonflies to your pond it’s best to avoid stocking your pond with fish.

Pond skimmers will suck up dragonfly larvae so they’re best avoided as well. You can use a long handled net to scoop any leaves or debris out of the pond.

Other things to avoid include outdoor insect zappers that will kill dragonflies as well as mosquitoes and pesticides sprayed in the garden can harm beneficial insects like dragonflies.

Algaecide and other chemical treatments added to the pond water can also kill dragonfly larvae.

dragonfly in a pond

Cleaning your pond

The muck that builds up on the bottom of the pond provides shelter for dragonfly nymphs, so you have to be careful when cleaning your pond that you don’t destroy their hiding place.

So there are my tips for attracting dragonflies to your backyard pond.

Dragonflies are not only pretty to watch, they’re also great for controlling mosquito populations around ponds.

The more dragonflies in your yard, the less annoying insects you’ll have.

dragonfly on a plant


Have you seen many dragonflies around your pond or water garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Backyard Ponds and Water Gardens that you may find interesting.

a dragonfly in a pond
Benefits of dragonflies for ponds

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener with a special interest in ponds and water gardens. For over a decade, I've been designing and creating beautiful gardens that feature stunning water features, from small garden ponds to large water gardens. Read more