Seeing more flying insects this year? You aren’t alone.

That can happen following a heavy snow/rain year.

What I’ve seen the most of in Butte County is dragonflies. Swarms of them.

This can actually be a good thing because they like to feast on mosquitoes. In fact, a single dragonfly can dine on hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day.

Dragonflies are prolific in parts of Chico this summer. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Considering mosquitoes and dragonflies like water, especially stagnant water, it makes sense there is an abundance of these flying animals this summer.

There are more than 5,000 types of dragonflies in the world, with 20 found in California. Blue dasher is the most common here.

“Blue dashers are voracious predators capable of eating hundreds of insects each day. They have fast reflexes and incredible eyesight. Their bulging, round eyes are composed of 30,000 facets, each seeing in a different direction. Combined, the facets allow these dragonflies to see in nearly every direction. Their two independent sets of wings enable them to change direction quickly and to hover in place when necessary,” according to Bird Watching HQ. As adults, they predominately feed on small flying insects like mosquitoes, moths, flies, and mayflies. They catch up to 95% of the prey they pursue, making them one of Earth’s most efficient predators. Both males and females are aggressive toward other dragonflies.”

Where I’ve noticed the proliferation of dragonflies is along a shady walking path near one of the man-made lakes in my neighborhood. Most appeared to be juveniles.

It was a bit unnerving at first because I didn’t know what was flying around at first. In other words, I didn’t know if I was about to bitten from head to toe.

Each step I took more would leap from the grass or bushes and fly seemingly right in my path. I just kept walking and they kept dodging me.

Days later I was in Paradise to give a massage and out the window I could see an abundance of dragonflies. My client confirmed she has never seen so many before. Down the hill from her house is the Feather River, so likely the body of water they were attracted to.

The good news, according to the website, “Dragonflies cannot damage fruits, vegetables, and plants and act as natural pest control in your yard. Although they can bite humans if captured or threatened, they are not naturally aggressive and rarely choose to attack.”

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