Ecology professor says more dragonflies likely means fewer mosquitoes
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Ecology professor says more dragonflies likely means fewer mosquitoes


We received no reports this evening about swarms of dragonflies. No one called saying they were flying all around their house. Last evening though it was a different story. There were dragonflies everywhere. Today I went looking for answers to what was going on. This was the scene last evening in Campbell. Ryan Tekac walking among a swarm of dragonflies. Similar stories were coming from virtually every community around Youngstown. In Struthers — David Hartzell had them in his neighborhood, too. “WE CAME OUT ABOUT SIX O’LOCK AND THE SWARMS OF DRAGONFLIES WERE ALL OVER.” “AND THEY’RE GOING TO BE AT THEIR MAXIMUM ABUNDNACE IN THE EVENING.” Dr. Tom Diggins is a professor of Ecology at Youngstown State and knows something about dragonflies. He has a theory of why there were so many last night. “WHAT MIGHT BE GOING ON HERE IS WE MIGHT BE JUST LOOKING AT A VERY LARGE ABUNDANCE OF THE DRAGONFLIES THAT HAVE PROBABLY BEEN GETTING A GOOD FOOD SUPPLY IN THE AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT AND NOW THEY’RE GETTING A FOOD FOOD SUPPLY OUT AND ABOUT IN THE TERRESTIAL ENVIRONMENT.” But this radar image sent out by the Cleveland National Weather Service office showed what appeared to be dragonflies not only around Ohio — but also in the surrounding states as well. “THERE IS A SPECIES OF THEM THAT ACTUALLY MIGRATES. IT’S CALLED THE GREEN DARNER AND THEY’RE REALLY BIG GREEN ONES.” Diggins says dragonflies feed on smaller insects. “THESE ARE TOP PEDITORS IN THEIR LITTLE WORLD. SO THESE ARE BASICLY LIKE THE SHARKS OR THE LIONS OF THE STREAMS AND PONDS. SO A LARGE POPULATION OF DRAGONFLIES MEANS THERE’S A LOT OF FOOD FOR THEM AND THERE HAS BEEN PROBABLY FOR A LONG TIME.” “NO, NO. THEY’RE NOT CAUSING DAMAGE.” And you don’t have to worry about dragonflies. They cause no problems. They don’t bite or sting. Diggins says when there are a lot of dragonflies — that generally means the environment is doing well. He also says for every dragonfly — it means 50 mosquitoes are being eaten.

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