Hmmm … not sure what a mosquito hawk is? What about if I say damselfly? Still not sure? How about dragonfly? Ah yes. Most everyone knows what a dragonfly is. Well, a mosquito hawk is just another name for dragonfly, and damselfly is a smaller version of a dragonfly. We clear now?
Dragonflies are one of the good bugs we want flitting around our gardens cause they eat lots of midges and mosquitos (hence “mosquito hawk”). They’ve been around for about 300 million years, which has given them plenty of time to perfect the art of mosquito eating.
Fresh water areas are where they start their lives. The babies, called “naiads”, eat anything in the water that’s smaller than they are. They molt nine to 17 times before turning into adults. That’s a lot of molting to eventually live only one to six months. Yes, only months.
How fast do you think a dragonfly can fly? Would you be surprised if I said they can fly up to 35 mph? I was sure surprised to learn that little tidbit fact. Ooh, something else that’s pretty cool is their wings move independently of each other which lets them fly backwards and upside down and hover. And their big ol’ eyes give them a 360 degree field of vision. The better to see where those pesky mosquitos are hiding.
So next time you see one of these beautiful creatures in your garden, just sit back and watch them for awhile. You might be surprised at how graceful and lovely they actually are.
Happy digging in the dirt …
Jeanni and Gibbs