Attract Dragonflies and Damselflies to Your Own Backyard


Creating Backyard Ponds: How to Get Started

In the Backyard Pond Habitat Guide you will find:

  1. Information on the ecological importance of dragonflies and damselflies;
  2. Natural history of dragonflies and damselflies;
  3. Information on the benefits of ponds to dragonflies and damselflies, and other wildlife;
  4. Steps to create pond habitat in your own backyard to attract dragonflies and damselflies;
  5. Pond maintenance suggestions to keep the wildlife you attract happy and healthy!

Key Aspects of Pond Creation

  • Designate a minimum viable area of 43 ft² (smaller may also be feasible)
  • Consider sinuous, natural-appearing outlines
  • Provide habitat with a variety of water depths
  • CALL BEFORE YOU DIG. Call local utilities to avoid buried lines
  • Deepest depth to consider (2.5–6.5 ft [0.8–2 m]) will depend on pond size and should avoid freezing in deeper parts in winter
  • Use a pond liner in well-drained soils
  • Install a diversity of plant species and a variety of vegetation types (submerged, floating, emergent, plus shrubs and other upland plants)

Dragonflies and Damselflies Have Four Basic Needs

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Water
Either flowing or standing, depending on species.
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Food
Odonates are generalist predators that will benefit from other insects attracted to backyard habitat.
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Vegetation
Emergent, submerged, and floating aquatic plants for perching, roosting, and laying eggs; upland vegetation for adult refuge and shelter.
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Substrate
for laying eggs, such as mud, vegetation, or rotting wood.

Vegetation is Key!

Emergent vegetation
Provides sites for adult emergence.

Floating vegetation
Provides egg-laying and perching sites.

Submerged vegetation
Provides substrate and refuge for nymphs.

Marginal vegetation
Near pond edges for adult perching.

Trees & Shrubs
Upland habitat for adult roosting.


Resources

  1. Biggs, K. 2012. Build a Pond for Wildlife. Azalea Creek Publishing, 32 pp. E-book available at http://www.amazon.com/Build-Pond-Wildlife-ebook/dp/B007YCCHHQ/.
  2. Biggs, K. 2013. Welcome to the Biggs’ Wildlife Pond. Blog at http://bigsnestpond.net/.
  3. British Dragonfly Society. 2010. Dig a Pond for Dragonflies. British Dragonfly Society, Dragonfly Conservation Group, 14 pp. Available at http://tinyurl.com/k97fzmp.
  4. Natural Resource Conservation Service. 2007. Backyard conservation: bringing conservation from the countryside to your backyard. NRCS Publication PA-1621, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Association of Conservation Districts, Wildlife Habitat Council, and National Audubon Society. 28 pp. Available at http://tinyurl.com/kl8u53t.
  5. National Wildlife Federation. Backyard ponds. Gardening Tip Sheet, 2 pp. Available at http://tinyurl.com/mz9pdwt.

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Identification Guides
Field Guide for Migratory Dragonflies

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