Find a Dragonfly at the Plant Sale

Find a Dragonfly at the Plant Sale

By Carol Nelson

VCE Southside Master Gardener

     The mornings are still a little cool to see many flying insects in our gardens – but in a couple weeks the butterflies and moths will be out in force, as well as the peskier sorts like mosquitoes, midges and winged termites. Soon we will also notice acrobatic predators swooping around at speeds up to 20 miles per hour to snatch the pests: beautiful dragonflies.

     Dragonflies are wonderful, helpful companions to have in our gardens. Their eyes take up most of their heads and flexible wings allow for maneuvering like helicopters so it’s no wonder they are so good at their job. A single dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day, but with no teeth or stinger will never harm humans.      

     Dragonflies spend their early life up to two years as nymphs in ponds or other water features. They are learning to be hunters and survive by eating tadpoles, the larvae of other insects and even newly-hatched fish. Once they emerge from the water, they usually have only weeks to take to the skies and catch prey with their feet.

     There are a couple ways to encourage dragonflies to move into your garden. Since they need a water source for their eggs to develop, having a shallow pond or fountain can invite them in. Planting foliage for pollinators such as Joe-pye weed or Black-eyed Susans throughout your garden will also attract some of their favorite prey species. While dragonflies will eat any smaller insects they can catch, they are called “mosquito hawks” for their preference for pursuing the buzzing irritants.

          A birdbath is too shallow to support larvae but a deeper trough or plastic liner stretched over a hole will get the process started. It helps to allow grasses to grow around natural ponds to filter run-off. Floating plants such as water lilies will also keep the water cooler and give shelter to nymphs. They need time to develop into hardened fliers and usually set out at night to avoid birds.

     For anyone who is worried about attracting more mosquitoes by creating water features around the home, a floating mosquito dunk containing a bacillus that targets mosquitoes but not other wildlife will help. It’s also important to continue to clear gutters and empty out pots that collect rainwater where mosquitoes breed.

     Due to changes from seasonal shifts, drought, development and loss of habitat, we are seeing fewer dragonflies and other insect species than in previous decades. In response to declining dragonfly numbers, sanctuaries have opened in Florida, New Mexico and Arizona. These centers teach the public about creating suitable water feature habitats.

     Southside Master Gardeners appreciate all beneficial insects (and strive to live with the rest), especially dragonflies. A selection of metal art dragonflies will be offered at the upcoming Plant Sale on May 7th, 7:30 am to noon. Get there early to grab one to stick in a favorite planter to remind yourself to be grateful for this insect’s amazing capabilities.


Caption for picture: These metal dragonflies are just one of the garden art available at the Southside Master Gardeners Plant Sale on May 7th from 7:30 am to noon. Plants of all kinds will also be for sale.

Change in Sanitation/Recycling Schedule for Week of 3/14 - 18, 2022

14th Annual Earth Day Extravaganza & Upcycled Art Contest

Position Available for Expanding Local Business

241st Crossing of the Dan Anniversary

241st Anniversary of the Crossing of the Dan

Thursday Event

“Race to the Dan, Race to Defeat”

Historical Program by Jim Morgan, MA

Thursday February 17, 2022 at 5:00 P.M.

South Boston – Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History

1540 Wilborn Avenue South Boston, Virginia 24592

Guests are encouraged to tour the permanent exhibit

“The Crossing of the Dan” before & after the Program


 Friday Event                                                                           

“Halifax County Patriots in the Revolution”

Historical Program by Colonel Greg Eanes USAF (Ret.)

Friday February 18, 2022 at 5:00 P.M.

King’s Bridge Landing – Banister Encampment

1041 Bethel Road – Scenic Byway 360 Halifax, Virginia 24558

Program to include:

Preliminary Revolutionary Era Music by David Russell & Roland Terry

Presentation and Posting of the Colors by the Virginia Society SAR Color Guard

Wreath Laying Ceremony

Musket & Cannon Fire by the 7th Infantry Regiment


Saturday Event

Crossing of the Dan                        

Saturday February 19, 2022 at 10:00 A.M.

South Boston Volunteer Fire Company Support Center

801 Wilborn Avenue South Boston, Virginia 24592

Sign in will Begin at 9:00 A.M.

Commemoration Begins 10:00 A.M.

“The Race to the Dan: A Resilience Theory Perspective”

Historical Program by Andrew Waters, Historian, Editor, and Conservationist

 Wreath Laying Ceremony - Location to be determined by weather.