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Do Dragonflies Pollinate? (Read This First!)

Dragonflies! It’s a pretty-looking bug, but why are they called “dragon” flies? Well, after knowing about its life-cycle, food habits, and biology, you will get the answer. However, do they help pollinate? Are they good for your garden? Let’s find out what dragonflies do for your garden.

Do dragonflies pollinate?

Dragonflies do not help pollinate. They have no attraction to flowers or fruits. They are carnivorous predators and live on insects. Too many dragonflies can be bad for plants that need active pollination. Although, they are very active pest-control bugs. 

Dragonflies are an ancient bug species that lived even before dinosaurs. They have a fascinating life cycle. The advanced hunting technique of dragonflies makes them the most successful sky predators.

Dragonflies are not pollinators as they don’t eat nectar or pollen. Bugs and animals pollinate flowers unwantedly when they eat nectar from flowers. 

When a bug sits on a male flower to collect nectar, pollen gets attached to its body. When the same bugs sit on another female flower, the pollination process completes.

But, dragonflies don’t know the taste of nectar. They don’t sit on flowers for any purpose. Well, they can sit on flowers randomly if the flower is in a higher position, but that doesn’t help pollinate plants.

They hunt every flying insect if it is a bit smaller than the dragonfly. It can be beneficial for pest control in most gardens. 

I said “almost” because if you have some specific plants, you can’t allow dragonflies in your garden. Dragonflies can eat even pollinator bugs like bees. 

However, keep in mind that only some plants need an active pollinator or the help of other bugs, such as pumpkin, cucumber, etc. 

Dragonflies can help you to defend against pest strikes and bug-borne diseases in your garden for other plants. And the best thing about them is they even help you enjoy your garden time by eating all the mosquitos.

Dragonflies are like eagles. You can’t expect an eagle to clean your backyard by munching on the grass. Similarly, dragonflies wouldn’t pollinate flowers, but they will help your garden in other ways.

What does a pollinator do?

In simple words, Anything that helps to transfer pollen from the male flower part to the female flower part of the same or different flower is called a pollinator. Bees, birds, beetles, and other bugs are active pollinators of nature.

Usually, pollinators get attracted to flowers for pollen, color, smell, or nectar. When the pollinator moves one flower to another, they carry pollen that helps to pollinate flowers.

After the pollination process completes, the female part of the flower turns into fruits and seeds. A pollinator is not always a bug or animal. Winds can also play the role of pollinator. 

Pollinators have a significant role in our ecosystem, and one-third of our foods result from active pollination.

Are dragonflies good for the garden?

Yes, dragonflies are good for your garden most of the time. But you have to consider a few things before allowing dragonflies in your garden. 

Dragonflies do not pollinate and can eat pollinators. So, if you have plants that need active pollination, a big group of dragonflies can harm fruit production. A few of them here and there will not do much. 

So what should you do? If you have a flower garden, allow them as pollination will not be necessary. If you have a vegetable/fruit garden that does not need active pollination, you can enjoy services from dragonflies. Do a bit of research about your plants. 

If they need active pollination, and your garden has a lot of dragonflies, take steps to remove them.

Dragonfly larvae can be harmful to garden ponds with baby fishes. Larvae are even ferocious hunters. They eat mosquito larvae, insects, and even small fishes like guppies, goldfish, and other fish fries. 

Use a net over your pond so that dragonflies can not reach and lay eggs in the water.

What do dragonflies do for the garden?

Dragonflies are at the top of the food chain in the insect world. They can save your garden from many pests and disease-causing insects. Here is a list of things that dragonflies do to your garden.

Pest control:

Did you know dragonflies are the only air hunters that have an over 95% of success rate? They have a fascinating technique of hunting which is almost always accurate.

If I compare dragonflies to American eagles, the eagles have only over a 20% success rate. However, the incredible success rate of hunting makes them very effective pest control bugs. Dragonflies don’t chase bugs to catch. 

They calculate the pathway of targets and reach the point to hunt the bug. Their 360°sight and advanced flying technique make them the most successful hunters on the earth.

Dragonflies have a fast metabolism, and they can flap their wings about 30 times per second. So, they need to hunt and eat to stay energized continuously. 

Butterflies, bees, moths, mosquitoes, and beetles are the main food of dragonflies. It can be problematic too for some plants. 

Mosquito control:

Dragonflies can remove mosquitos from your garden so effectively. A single dragonfly can eat about 40-100 mosquitoes every day.

Dragonflies live a big part of their life in the water as larvae. The larvae also help to reduce mosquito larvae. 

Before getting adults, a dragonfly larva needs to shade its skin 10-12 times. That requires a lot of food and hunting. 

Reduce disease in plants: 

Insects are one of the main vectors of plant disease. Dragonflies eat small leafhoppers, aphids, and those kinds of vector insects that can spread viral infections to your plants.

Do dragonflies bite or sting?

Dragonflies do not bite or sting humans. Although if you touch its mouth while catching, it may bite you for self-defense. They have strong jaws that cut small bugs into pieces, but it’s still too weak to break human skin.

Dragonflies don’t sting and have no toxins. They are not allergic to humans. There are hundreds of species of dragonflies in the world, but neither of them is harmful to humans. (until you go back 30 million years!)

What plants and flowers attract dragonflies?

Attracting dragonflies is tricky as you can’t draw them with flowers and nectars. You can attract dragonflies by creating a suitable environment for hunting, breeding, and hanging out. 

Creating a small pond with aquatic plants lets you make your backyard a dragonfly breeding ground. But don’t allow any frogs or fish in your pond as they can eat the dragonflies and their larvae.

Dragonflies lay eggs in water and spend a big part of their lives in water. If you plant bushy flower plants, many bugs will visit your garden, which will attract dragonflies.

Put some long sticks in your garden. They need a bit higher ground to sit and wait for prey. Here are some plants and flowers that attract dragonflies.

Swamp Milkweed:

Swamp milkweed plants attract dragonflies. They grow best in moist soil. As the flowers are a good source of nectar, many small insects visit the garden that attracts dragonflies.


Arrowhead plants can grow with minimal care, and they are suitable plants to attract dragonflies.

Water Lily:

For water lilies, a pond is needed. They can even grow in a tank. The good thing is, when you keep water lilies, dragonflies can rest on the leaves and lay eggs on the water.

Wild Celery:

Wild celery can make ideal breeding and hunting ground for dragonflies. You can make a swallow pond to grow them. 

Water Horsetail:

Water horsetails grow in lakes and other watery places. Dragonflies will love your garden if there is water horsetail in your garden.


The cattail is a popular aquatic plant that increases the diversity and population of various insects. It can be planted to invite dragonflies.

Dwarf Sagittaria:

Dwarf Sagittaria is another low-maintenance plant that can be used to attract dragonflies. They are very hardy plants but need proper fertilizing to grow them.

Black-Eyed Susan:

Black-eyed Susan grows inland and effectively attracts dragonflies. They need full-day sunlight and medium maintenance to grow.

Meadow Sage:

Meadow sage is a bushy land plant that grows beautiful bluish flowers. They make an ideal environment for dragonflies to sit and wait for prey.


Yarrows can be used to attract dragonflies. They grow on land, and the flowers have many color variations. There are many meditational uses of yarrow too.


Borage plants are very fast-growing and need a little maintenance. Star-shaped blue borage flowers can be an excellent addition to your flower garden. They are very effective in attracting dragonflies.

Final thoughts

Dragonflies do not pollinate, but they are like guardians of your garden. They can eat up all the pests and keep your garden safe. However, if there are a lot of dragonflies, they can reduce the production of any plants that are dependent on active pollinators.