I work out on a lake once a week as part of my job. We’re managing the water quality of the lake, which involves a lot of hot, hard work and heavy lifting in the sun on a metal boat. Sometimes the job is really awful, especially during the summer when it’s over 100 degrees in the shade and super humid thanks to the evaporation from the lake. A few days ago, my coworker/friend and I got out to the lake as early as we could to avoid the forecasted 108 degrees. I’m glad we got there early because we were treated to the most spectacular dragonfly display I’ve seen so far! Take a look at the video of this behavior I posted on YouTube so you can see what it looked like:
Isn’t it fun to see so many dragonflies flying together at one time? The swarm was made up hundreds of male dragonflies, all flying over the grass on the hill adjacent to the lake. There were also several different species making up the swarm. My friend (also a biologist) and I weren’t sure what the dragonflies were up to, so we speculated about what they might be doing.
One possibility was that the dragonflies were patrolling the area over the grass, protecting a territory they had set up. Dragonflies, especially the males that made up the swarm, tend to be highly territorial. You would usually see only one male in an area at a time, unless a male from another area is challenging the resident male. It would thus be very unusual for so many male dragonflies to be in a single area at the same time, especially a position away from the water. Dragonflies are known to be tricked into thinking they have found water when they have not on occasion (see my post about dragonflies patrolling over cars), but there was no reason to suspect they were being tricked en masse. If dragonflies commonly mistook grass for water, they wouldn’t have been around for as many millions of years as they have! The grass hadn’t been recently watered either, so they likely didn’t mistake it for water because it was wet.
When dragonflies patrol their territories, they tend to exhibit distinct flight patterns, making the same motions over and over again until something (food, mates, competitors) enters their territory and they veer off path to investigate. The dragonflies in the swarm exhibited erratic, jerking flights, not the controlled, fluid flights of typical patrolling males. Dragonflies of different species also tend to fly at different heights while patrolling and/or exhibit different flight patterns. All the bugs in the swarm were flying at the same height and using the same motions. With all of these facts in mind, we ruled out patrolling over the grass. The members of the swarm clearly weren’t patrolling.
We ruled out the possibility that the males were looking for mates for many of the same reasons. A female dragonfly usually needs water to be able to lay her eggs. She will fly out over the water, find a place that looks safe for her offspring, and mate with the male that controls that area. If the dragonflies weren’t mistaking the grass for water, they wouldn’t be looking for mates. Females wouldn’t come to the area over the grass to mate because the area wasn’t suitable for egg deposition. So, mating probably wasn’t the reason for the swarm.
We eventually decided this had to be a feeding behavior. If you looked just right, you could see thousands of little insects flying above the grass. These little insects were buzzing around all over the place. If the dragonflies were chasing little bugs that were flying erratically, they would be flying erratically themselves. Also, there really wouldn’t be any reason why they should be over the grass instead of the water unless there was some benefit to their being there. Because they find mates at the water, each moment a male dragonfly spends away from the water represents a lost chance for mating. However, if there were a ton of food available on the hill that wasn’t available over the water, there was a benefit to flying over the grass. If the food was particularly abundant, i.e. there was enough to go around, it would also explain why the dragonflies were tolerating one another and not chasing their competitors away. It had to be a feeding swarm.
We collected a few dragonflies from the swarm (MUCH easier to catch in the swarm than as individuals over the water!), watched the swarm for a while, and then got to work. It was a hot, miserable day on the lake, but my friend and I agreed it had been worth taking the time to watch the dragonflies. It ended up making up for the discomfort of the work.
I looked into the swarming behavior when I got home from work and learned that it is indeed common for some dragonfly species to fly in large feeding swarms like the one we saw. Looking into it further, I learned that the four species I was able to identify within the swarm are the ones most commonly known to make these sorts of feeding aggregates. I hadn’t ever read about dragonfly swarms or seen one before, but it was gratifying to know that my friend and I were able to figure it out on our own, simply by thinking about what we knew about dragonflies and their behaviors. It just goes to show that the more you know about an insect’s behavior, the better you are able to explain new behaviors you haven’t seen before! Regardless, I was ecstatic to see the swarm! It was an amazing experience and one I will remember forever.
In my next post, I’ll go over the species we found and how to identify them so you’ll know some of the species to look out for if you ever come across a dragonfly swarm yourself. The dragonflies that made up this swarm are easy to tell apart. In another post, I’ll talk about what we think the dragonflies were eating and the evidence we found for it. Stay tuned!
Have you seen a dragonfly swarm?
I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior. If you see one, I’d love to hear from you! Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form. It only takes a few minutes!
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128 thoughts on “Dragonfly swarm!”
We arrived in Stockton, CA last Friday to visit my wife’s brother. There has been a swarm of dragonflies above the neighbor’s one-story house every day. A dozen or so fly over my bro-in-law’s place every so often, but return to the swarm after only a few minutes. We have attempted to photograph them, but have not had much luck. Today I was able to verify two kinds, one is medium sized, blue with black and blue on the wings, and the other is small and golden. Haven’t seen any swarms of tiny insects, but assume they must be there. No bodies of water for five blocks. The neighbors have not lived there that long, so we don’t know if behavior is repeated each year. Pretty danged awesome to observe. Thanks for your thoughtful observations.
Fun! Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you think your swarm is amazing. The one here is so large and impressive it makes me giddy! If you are interested in figuring out what you’ve got, there are a couple of good websites you could check out. One is California Dragonflies and Damselflies (http://bigsnest.members.sonic.net/Pond/dragons/). They’ve got pictures and distribution information for the CA dragonflies. The other is Digital Dragonflies (http://www.dragonflies.org/), which focuses on Texan dragonflies, but includes many other species as well. Digital Dragonflies has EXCELLENT high quality scans of the dragonflies on their site, so it’s a great site to use as an identification aid. Based on your description, I would assume the little orange one is one of the amberwings (I think you’ve got the Mexican amberwing up there) and the blue one is likely the blue dasher or one of the skimmers.
Enjoy your swarm observations!
We have HUGE swarms every year (I live in the MO. Ozarks) The dragonflies arrival began yesterday. The sky is just alive with them. The swarms normally last a week or so and then just disappear as quickly as they came. We look forward to the dragonflies’ gathering, each summer.
Here in the Bajada of the Tucson Mountains (west side), where it is very hot and dry, we usually get swarms of Dragons (mostly Camelbags, Variagated Mhawks and few Flame skimmers) after the first Monsoon rains. I asked the same questions that you had. We found that they were mainly after the emerging winged ants and termites. Since these often rise like smoke for their mating flights, it was possible to watch the dragons go after them.
How fun! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been amazed by the number of people who have found my blog by searching for dragonfly swarms online since I hadn’t ever seen one before. Based on the number of people who have witnessed these swarms, I find it strange that it was more than a trivial matter for me to find any information on the subject. I have tons of dragonfly books and access to scientific journals, but I STILL found it hard to hunt down anything published about this behavior! I guess it makes sense that so many people end up here when they look up dragonfly swarms online. In any case, the dragons at Lakeside in Tucson were also eating mostly termites and ants, so I’m happy to know that their relatives on the other side of the mountains are doing the same thing.
I’m still going to get back to you about the distribution of L. medius. I just haven’t had a chance to go get the paper I have on the subject from my office yet…
On the 18th of this month I stepped outside my house to see HUNDREDS of blue (only blue) dragonflies flying in my yard and over my house. They weren’t over any other house which is odd because the houses are close together. Also, I live in a busy city in Texas with no streams, lakes, or fields to speak of for miles and miles. It was amazing. Almost magical.
Thanks for sharing! I’m enjoying hearing all the stories about these swarms since I wrote the post. I’m glad you enjoyed the experience!
No swarms but for many years have noticed 2 to 3 dragonflies around 10 AM almost every day flying over the house and neighbors. Approx. 2 miles to the nearest tiny wetland freshwater lake in Los Angeles. Just wondering this AM if there might be some attraction to a giant grass in the neighbors yard although haven’t seen direct contact but seems to be center of flight area. Many termites, no rain and little watering or water features here. Curious to their habitat. The bigsnest.members.sonic.net/Pond/dragons link appears to be broken.
Thanks for letting me know about the link. I’ve fixed it.
I’m not exactly sure what the dragonflies are going for at your house without observing them myself. If they’re coming back every day, there’s clearly something worth guarding there. Are the grasses part of a little water garden by any chance?
Well, the gasses are the giant type which often get mistaken for bamboo and grows 15-18 feet tall. No ponds or water, very dry. That’s what I don’t understand .
Hmmm… Well, there must be SOMETHING there the dragonflies want, or they wouldn’t be coming back day after day to the same spot for so long. I’d guess it’s a great place for them to feed, but it could also be that they’re being fooled into thinking it’s habitat when it’s not. Dragonflies are agile fliers, amazing predators, and have remarkable vision, but they’re easily fooled too. That’s why they have such a hard time telling water and cars apart.
This AM I had just opened the back door and noticed a dragonfly flying back and forth at about 12 to 16 feet over mine and neighbors behind back yards. An area of approx. 50 feet by 50 feet. I stood inside behind the screen door for about 20 minutes. It darted over and seemed to chase two others away. I then went out and tended to the garden for about 20 more minutes and the dragonfly remained flying back and forth occasionally darting off to the left or right for a few minutes and them came back. While bent over the garden I saw several shadows and quickly looked up and saw three dragonflies one of which was swollen (female?). They appeared to fly together for a short time movements didn’t seem to be as aggressive as the with the first two individuals. Last year there was a shed where the garden is now and when it was torn down the dragonfly seem to seen less frequently. The shed could have been a source of flying termites or such. New neighbors to the rear and their yard has changed along with mine but the dragonfly returns. Maybe the dragonflies are fooled into thinking that cars, blue, yellow, green, red, white, are small pools of water with algae or stagnant. A prehistoric ingrain.
Dragonflies have been known to be tricked by cars – they think they’ve found water when they haven’t. Dragonflies use polarized light patterns to identify water and anything that gives off the same signature is “water’ as far as they’re concerned. It sounds like your dragonfly is actually setting up a territory if it’s chasing other away, and this suggests that it’s found something it thinks is water, i.e. something that’s worthy of defending. They’ve even been known to try to lay eggs on the tops of cars, never really realizing that their prize isn’t at all what they think it is. I’m always torn between thinking this is kinda funny and really sad.
FYI, just wanted to update my original post a bit by saying that I still have a solitary dragonfly patrolling my backyard. Seems to be there more frequently now than when I first posted. I’m sure it can’t be the same one after all these years (4-1/2). Found a dead one in the drive yesterday but another is flying around today so I know there is more than just one. For some reason the location has been passed on to others. I’ve only seen 3 at most at any one time flying their erratic ways sometimes flying up and touching one another but doesn’t appear to be in an aggressive manner. I noticed one resting on a vertical piece of plastic pipe one day and after it left I went and looked to find what appeared to be a single file line of about 12-18 eggs on the pipe where it had been. Not sure if this reply will get seen buried in such an old thread. I’ve wanted to update sooner but I couldn’t locate your site as I never kept a link thinking I would easily remember Dragonfly Woman but I did and have been searching for Dragonfly Lady instead LOL.
Its june 7th 2010 .. i live in the country in the poconos of pa.. no water to close to me this week has been an amazinf display of drgon flies i have lived in this house for almost 4 years never saw any .. i have tons of dragonfly visitors everyday for a week they range in size and color the most beautiful one i saw was a bigger one it had two spots on each wing.. My daughter says she looked it up and sybolizes growth and new beginning boy do all of us need that in this crazy world .. the indians believe its the soul of the dead wel i have many visitors this summmer and i am enjoying them what ever reason there here :)
At a campground named Frontierland just outside Ocean City, MD, the week of June 27 thru July 3, we were surrounded by many many dragon flies. I don’t know if it could be called a “swarm.” There were at least two different kinds, one light in color and one dark blue-black. They just minded their business as they flitted around and away from our shins. They were on the Sinuxpent bay in the campground as well as on the bay side of Assategue Island, in the National Park. Both locations were feet from the water line of the bay. The area they hovered was grass and sand about a quarter of a soccer field in size. No one seemed to mind them. They even seemed curious about my pink diaper bag, landing on it a lot! i wish I was more astute. I failed to notice if there were bugs or not.
Thanks for the info! I’ll put it in my database!
This evening I stepped out in my backyard and observed a huge swarm of flying insects. They were moving so fast, it made them hard to identify at first. Soon I realized they were dragonflies. My husband had mowed the grass today and had seen the big swarms of them. They were over our buffalo grass, near my native Texas garden. My garden has had lots of butterflies so maybe that is what attracted them. This was about 8 pm central time in northwest central Texas near Bowie Texas. I was not able to identify the kinds.
PS- Sorry I forgot to mention that we live in the woods, native oak trees, and there are several ponds around us and a bigger lake not far from us.
Excellent! I will add your information to my database!
Thought I should add it was a record setting 103 degrees with weeks of drought. I’ve been watering hydrangas. Could they have come because it’s water they crave? I’m also 2 blocks from the ocean. Some of them were flying very close to my door. At first I thought one of them had gotten inside and the others had come to see what happened. They seemed to all be black and more than 5 inches long. It was actually very frightening as there were dozens of them.
We saw 2 separate swarms on the same day, July 14, 2010. We saw the first one over part of our church lawn around 9:20 a.m. Our church is on the southeast side of Chico, CA. There were probably about 150 of them. The grass was dry. Later that day on our way back to Chico from Paradise, CA, we stopped at a lookout point off of Skyway Road where you can look from atop the ridge down into a canyon. It was about 11:40 a.m. and there were about 500 dragonflies. They all appeared to be the same type both times. Brownish in color with larger bodies than most dragonfiles I have been accoustomed to in Missouri. I was at the same location outside of Paradise the following day, but around 1:20 p.m. but no signs of dragonfliles. I do have a few photos if you would like them, let me know. No good close up shots, as they were all in flight.
Excellent information! I’ll add it to my database. And i would like the photos if you are willing to send them to me. I’ll contact you by e mail so you can send them. Thanks!
We live abt 6 miles from Great Salt Lake, they swarm around our house every night befor dusk. Smooth patterns. Dig heights. They look the same. Hope it’s a good omen:)
Thanks for the information! I’ll add it to my database.
Today my wife and I noticed a large swarm of dragonflies over our home in south Saint Louis County(STL county in MO) around dusk. It has been extremely hot here and the dragonflies appear to be feeding. It was extremely interesting to see… and I hope it represents good things to come. Thanks.
It’s entirely possible that the dragonflies might be a sign of coming rains. Many dragonflies will become more active or change their behaviors before storms. I can’t be certain that’s what’s happening where you’re located, but it’s certainly a possibility. Glad you thought it was interesting! And thanks for reporting it too. It’s going into my database along with the other report from MO I got today.
Last evening about 6pm we were astounded to see thousands of Dragonflys swarming in the trees around 4 homes on our block.It was amazing. Some elderly folks stated they had never seen anything like this in their lives. Im glad the kids got to see them. Springfield,Illinois
July 24th, 2010 in Milwaukee, WI.
I came home at 7:00pm tonight, and there are a swarm of dragonflies over my house and my neighbors house. I hadn’t seen a dragonfly all summer, and i spent a lot of time in my yard and garden working. So to see over 100+ of them was fascinating/frightening.
WI had a massive rainstorm 48 hours ago, that resulted in the governor declaring the state a natural emergency. The newspaper estimates $48million in damage. Hundreds of cars sunk in water on regular city streets. The 8 line interstate was shut down for 12 hours(!!) because it was flooded.
I went to the store at 5:00pm. And to see all the dragonflies 2 hours later was bizarre
Thanks for the info! There seem to be a lot of them in the north central part of the country recently, so I appreciate your reporting your sighting. It’s going to be a great addition to my database.
NW Ohio here. Stepped out onto my back yard deck about 9pm, saw lots of movement and looking closer to the ground area, saw swarms of very large flying bugs, and watching them thought they looked like giant dragonflies. (Or small hummingbirds) thick bodies, blue coloring…they never landed to get a closer look. Searched it on the web and came upon your site. it is high 90 degree weather this week.
There has been humid, weather, storms in the forecast and lightning playing in the sky off in the distance.
I have never seen this before and was quite amazed by this phenomena (if I dare call it that) I like the previous post re the omen of growth and new beginning.
I will look for them again tomorrow! thanks for your page and the interesting posts!
Thanks for the information! I appreciate it! I’ve gotten several reports from your region in the last few days, so it seems like there’s quite a few of them out and about.
Memphis, TN – in the last week the dragonflies have started swarming. While I’ve seen them individually all summer, the swarms are all over the place around here. Seems in the morning they congregate around our small pond, and in the pm are over the horse pasture. Also, a huge swarm over a local park in Germantown, must have been over 1000, just skimming about 1 foot over the grass, over about an acre.
This isn’t limited to just this area, I travelled 30 miles south to the Tunica, MS area yesterday, and saw thousands. Over on 5 mile stretch, there were thousands and thousands swarming over the interstate and adjacent bayous.
There has been no rain for a week, and it has been really hot. Could it be they wait to congregate and swarm until later in the summer when perhaps the forage bug population is at its highest?
That’s entirely possible. We don’t really know why or how these swarms form, hence my interest in collecting reports. I’m very interested in learning more about this behavior. Thanks for the information!
I found this site by googling about why we suddenly seem to have so many dragonflies! We live in Oakland, TN (just outside Memphis) and noticed hundreds of them at the zoo in Memphis yesterday- esp. near the exhibits that feature water prominently. Then today we saw quite a number of them in our subdivision, and in various areas around our small town where there is no major body of water. Interesting behavior and fun to see them. I don’t recall noticing them in this amount before- it has been brutally hot here for almost a month- heat indexes well over 100degrees and very humid. Prime mosquito weather, so that may be a contributing factor.
I’ve been seeing LOTS of dragonflies in the last couple of weeks, in Bartlett, TN and out in Oakland, TN. But the biggest swarm I saw was on either the 4th or 5th of August at Baptist Hospital Memphis, TN . I work in the medical professional building across from the hospital on the 5th floor and have windows the length of my office. I looked out at about 3 or 4 pm and there were hundreds flying between our building and the hospital. They buzzed around for about 30 minutes, then moved on. It was amazing!
If you happen to check back on this, I have a question for you! I tried e mailing you, but it was sent back to me… My question: Were the dragonflies you saw milling around in one area flying in a circular or figure 8 pattern, or were they mostly flying in one direction so that they were obviously on the move? This will tell me whether what you saw is a static swarm or a migratory swarm. Thanks!
I saw a swarm of at least 1000 dragonflies at dusk yesterday next to the parking lot of a restaurant (ironically called the Dragon Inn) along a commercial strip in Glenview, a Chicago suburb. We have had hot (upper 80’s-90’s) temp for weeks and very heavy rain the night before. The nearest lake is about 3/4 mi away.
The swarm was over a 500 foot radius, some flying very high. We watched a while then moved on.
Thanks for the info! There have been several sightings in your area over the last few days, so I’m happy to add another report to my database.
My husband called me out of the house last evening to observe a swarm in our backyard. Date = 07/25/10 Time = around 7:00 pm Location = rural Monroe County, Michigan. We have 2 ponds in the back part of our 2 acres of property, but this was immediately behind the house. There were different species, but I couldn’t identify them for you. Most were flying back & forth in a figure-8 pattern approx. 6-8 inches off the ground. Some were a few feet off the ground. They kept in an area about 6-8 ft. in diameter. Also, observed the same thing happening behind us at the next-door neighbor’s front yard (area was parallel to our backyard.)
Thanks for the fabulously detailed account! I really appreciate your giving me so much info!
Little Rock, AR. About 4pm, just as the sky turned dark, with approaching storm clouds. There was lightening in the distance, and thunder. I work downtown on the 6th floor in the center part of the business district–there are several high rise buildings around me. The city center is about 1/3 of a mile from the Arkansas River. I observed several hundred thousand dragonflies swarming by for 30-45 seconds. They were flying directly from west to east, paralleling the river. The swarm blacked the distance between my building and the building next to me. Many of their wingtips brushed my window.
Wow! I wish I could have seen that! Your sighting was actually a migratory swarm because they were all flying together in a single direction and covering some distance as they flew as opposed to staying in one spot for an hour or more. Several species of dragonflies are known to do this type of migratory flight and it’s almost always along some major waterway. I’ll bet that was seriously impressive to see! Thanks for the report!
Thanks so much for shedding light on what I saw–it was so startling, I was taken aback and had to pause my conference call just to watch the dragonflies pass by!
We have never seen a swarm before either, and that is why I started searching for some information and got to you. We live in South Milwaukee, WI(2 blocks from Lake Michigan). We saw a huge swarm on July 25th at just before dusk. We could not identify the type of dragonfly! We would say there were thousands….and they flew HIGH, way above the house and into the clouds, with a few streaming down now and then. They were approximately 2 1/2 inches long , some bigger and it was just amazing to see. A real WOW moment! :0) Thanks for your information.
work on the 6th story of the federal building in the concrete jungle of downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Yesterday a coworker pointed out swarms of d-flies flying erratically. I thought this was odd because they were flying at such a high altitude (60-70 ft up). There was a storm approaching, so I thought it may have something to do with air pressure. Another co-worker who witnessed the “event” added that later in the day when he went home, there were hundreds of dragonflies swarming his azalea bushes. Is it possible that the weather is playing a part in this occurence of dragon fly swarms. thanks
Downtown Little Rock Arkansas
6 stories up
no species identified
I live in Newbury, Ohio. Monday eve. had a large swarm in my front yard after cutting grass. Mostly large blue ones and green ones. Must have been feeding, because they were accompanied by several dozen Barn Swallows that were chasing something I could not see. Several lakes are in the area. Been here for fourty years and have never seen before.
I live in Evergreen Park, IL. I returned home today from a long weekend to find 30-40 dagonflies swarming in my front yard. I couldn’t see anything of interest, though we have had a lot of rain lately. They seemed entirely uninterested in me or my dogs, but I thought it was strange that they were only over my yard, not either of my neighbors. I have never seen anything like it. It is interesting, but I hope it does not signal some sort of insect infestation.
I just saw my first swarm ever tonight! I got curious and found this website – fascinating. We live in Lee’s Summit, MO (south of the Kansas City area). It was about 7:00 pm. The swarm was huge. They were as far as we could see – very eerie. There were so many it scared my cat! They were various sizes but the larger ones had a bright blue color on the body. They were swarming over the ground and high in the air. They were flying so fast we were not sure if there was more than one species. We though it was weird since we have no large bodies of water close by – only a pond about 2 acres away. A friend told me that she saw a swarm today also in downtown Kansas City. We had rain showers today on and off. Interesting…
We live in Lee’s Summit as well and I first noticed the swarm outside of Target over in Summit Woods (470 & Pryor Rd), and made a comment about it to my daughter, but then when I got home on the other side of town, 12th and Todd George, there was a swarm there too. That’s how I stumbled on to this website, good information.
I just saw my first swarm last night! (7-29-10) There were probably at least 50 of them in my driveway when I came home at about 8pm last night. They all dispersed at sunset (~8:30pm). I live NE of Columba, MO in a rural area. We have a small pond about 100 yards from where they were swarming. The dragonflies were flying over the driveway which is partly concrete and partly gravel. They all appeared to be one species- large and green. Mine were flying differently than those in your video. They seemed to by flying smoothly in a figure 8 pattern and only moved suddenly if they were about to hit one another. I couldn’t see any swarms of mosquitoes or other insects. They were flying mostly between 4ft and 10ft off the ground in a pretty tight cluster- maybe about 20ft diameter circular area. We’ve had a lot of rain here lately (some precip nearly every day) and we actually had about 3 inches of rainfall the prior night- about 15hrs before I saw this swarm. We have lived in our house for 5 years and I had never seen this before. I just sat on the pavement below them and watched until sunset- awesome!
I live in Ocean Springs, Mississippi near Fort Bayou and there were several hundred dragonflies flying over our houses headed toward the bayou. I have never seen so many in one spot, we tried keeping count and get a shot of them but they were moving so fast. They are still going and this has been going on for awhile now
They were mainly green ones with a few blue that we could see. It was so awesome to watch. This occurred starting around 6:00 pm and it is now 7:38 pm and they are still travelling
Oh excellent! This was a migratory swarm – and I got another report on one in your area today. How fun! Thanks for sharing your sighting!
Last night 7/30/2010 when I arrived home at the ranch around 10:30pm I witnessed a plague of dragonflies. The reason I would consider this a plague instead of a swarm was that it was completely dark and that they weren’t flying around until I pulled up in front of the house and shut the pickup off. As I began to step out of the pickup, I began to hear things hit the pickup like hail stones. As I watched in the headlights they began to fall from the elm trees. Within seconds, below three of the trees the ground was completely covered probably six inches deep in dragonflies. After I finally broke for the house, it sounded like a hard rain storm, the dragonflies were hitting all the windows. outside it was a constant roar of wings. I have never seen or heard of anything close to this, millions of them. We live in SE Colorado on a remote ranch located on a creek that has some live water pools. Most of the dragonflies I have seen littering the porches and drive have been the large green or blue type.
I first noticed a swarm in the neighbors pasture on the 24th of July in Collinsville IL, just east of downtown St Louis. It consisted of approximately 200 dragonflies but since I was doing yard work didn’t pay attention to how many different species.
The next day it seemed to have moved to my backyard and was really quiet something to see. This time I tried to pay attention to how many different species I saw and came up with maybe 6 or 7, I’m just starting to keep track of dragonflies and butterflies. The wife was asking why/what would make this happen now I have a good answer for her. Thanks for the information!
My husband and I were taking the dogs for their evening walk through the hay fields and we noticed hundreds of dragonflys swarming over a group of large bales of hay. At first I thought the bales might be heating up but they were stone cold. When we returned from our 20 minute walk the dragonflys were still swarming over the hay. Unfortunately it was too dark in the evening to ID any of them. We have a small 29 acre farm with one pond that is located a distance from the hay.
Date observed: August 2, 2010
Location: Southwest Missouri
Temp: 100 degress today
We live in Coldwater MI, just beyond the Indiana border. It’s farm country here, really! Soy beans and feed corn populate the many farms around us. Where we live, our property is currently surrounded by corn field. We put in an above ground swimming pool this year. The other night we had friends over, the grill was going and it was around 80 degrees. We had been playing volleyball in the pool for about an hour or so and then noticed that not 5 feet from us a huge swarm of dragon flies. I collect them so I was very intrigued! I noticed two specific features. Many very large(apx 4inches in length) brown or blue dragon flies. then also some of the same but smaller. probably around 25 total. they were flying erradically above the grass between the pool and cornfield. I watched closley and did note many knatt sized bugs flying around also and believe that the dragon flies were feeding rather than mating. I have seen brief occurances of the dragon flies here, never so many or so large though. it was quite entertaining!
I just got back from taking a walk with my son, and I noticed dragonflies swarming in the air above a driveway we were passing. They were about the height of the telephone wires, so I couldn’t make out anything more than the distinctive shape that showed them to be dragonflies. We did find one dead one on the street, I think it was black and blue.
As we continued walking, I noticed similar activity over a tree in the next yard – and then the next. Not every tree, but most of the trees on that side of the road. Around the corner, less activity, but then we saw another swarm around some telephone wires, and further away over another tree.
I had never seen such activity before, and never expected to see dragonflies in our neighborhood, at least not in such numbers. We live on the outskirts of town, and there has been so much rain lately that there may be water in ditches, but there are no ponds that I know of nearby. I got on the web to try to learn about what I had just seen.
Date: August 3, 2010, at about 8:30 PM
Location: Eastern Iowa (in Muscatine, our house is a few miles west of the Mississippi)
Temp: 86 degrees (heat index is 99)
There is a dragonfly swarm RIGHT NOW in the middle of downtown Chicago! About a block west of Grant Park (maybe a quarter mile from the lake). They are absolutely enormous, it’s so fantastic to watch!
10 AM aug 5 2010 Nashville Tennessee swarm in recurring circluar pattern more than 100, some larger , some golden ,some bright blue,and some black and white moving over our roof then lower to ground level-no water in area . seemed to be eating smaller insects in same areas
Time: About 7:25-:730 pm
Date: Monday August 10. 2010
Location: West Allis, WI. ( Milwaukee Suburb)
A swarm of thousands of Dragonflies just passed through my neighborhood. Flying at the height of about rooftop level. They all appeared to be of the same species. Darner I believe butIi can’t be 100% certain. They were flying in the same erratic patterns you described. The swarm appeared to cover an area of about four to six square blocks. They were traveling in a west, south west direction. The swarm took about five minutes to pass over my house from the time I first noticed them. I do not know for sure how many had already passed my house when i noticed them. My house is about 6.4 miles from Lake Michigan. I have a very small (3’x5′) decorative pond in my back yard, there is another of similar size three houses down. About a block and a half to the north west of my hose is an industrial park with a drainage collection pond about 50 feet diameter. It is now 7:46 pm and the swarm is long out of sight however there are two or three stragglers buzzing around my yard. I believe this to have also been a feeding swarm, as the mosquito population has been rather thick the last few days and at the moment seems almost nonexistent.
This is the first time in my entire life I have ever witnessed such a wonderful display. I was so intrigued that I immediately googled “dragonfly swarm” which is how I came to your blog.
I should note that approximately a week and a half to two weeks ago I noticed about two or three dozen buzzing around in my back yard. This smaller swarm was flying much lower and I assumed they were feeding on mosquitoes.
I hope this information is helpful in your observations of this fascinating behavior.
I should have noted above that the temperature is 77°f.
I saw my first dragonfly swarm Aug. 8 2010 in a small town by grand rapids michigan. wow, it was amazing. I had to call the whole family out to see and then take the time to look up info about it on the web. I can’t even guess how many there were. we have a wet area in front of our house and they were large and flying all over the place. They seemed to thin out once the cat came out and started leaping at them.
Today (Sunday) 8/7/2010 at South Shore Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, right next to Lake Michigan, south of downtown in the city, they were swarming in the park. At one point, two of them crashed to the ground in front of where we were sitting, writhed around for awhile, then were still. After a while there was some twitching, then one proceeded to completely eat the other! The whole process took about an hour or maybe more. Didn’t know whether they were mating or fighting! Took some photos…
(Sunday was 8/8 not 8/7 !)
I too saw the first swarm of dragonflies over my home last evening. They were everywhere!! When I got to work today, the lady I work with said that she saw them at her place as well a few nights ago. I was just shocked to see so many and didnt know what was going on, but it sure was a remarkable site to see. The weather has been quite warm and humid here in Iowa.
I live in Mobile, AL. The main kind of dragonflies we see here in my neighborhood seem to be Blue Dashers and 12 Spots. I went out around 9:00 this morning (Aug. 9, 2010) and was amazed to see a dragonfly swarm in my backyard! Maybe 60-70 ?? I’ve never seen anything like it. They were not in the front yard or anywhere else except my backyard. They were in an absolute frenzy with irregular flight patterns. A few did seem to be flying in circles. You could hear the buzz of their wings as they flew past, and also the buzzing-crashing noise they made when they ran into each other. (Kind of like when hummingbirds are diving at each other, but not quite as loud). Almost never stopping to land on anything. There are several small streams and ditches in the neighborhood. They were flying just above eye level or below. The grass was still wet from a shower from last night, and also probably from heavy dew. By mid-day all but 4 were gone. The temp was already in the low 90’s with high humidity. The past few days the heat index has been 105-115. Our resident hummingbird was not happy about all the activity and kept chasing them away from his feeder. My aunt lives a half hour away in Semmes, AL, and said she had a small swarm in her driveway a couple of days ago. I have taken some beautiful pictures of dragonflies over the past few weeks. Do you have a place to share photos? I, too, just typed in Dragonfly Swarm onto my browser to see if I could find an explanation for the swarm, and that’s how I found this page. I’ve enjoyed reading the other posts. I will be writing about this in my journal!
We live in rural Ogle County, IL, just outside Oregon. Our 5 acres is surrounded by corn, soybeans, and wheat, and has a run-off stream that is mostly stagnant on the south end near the house, but “flows” northwest off the property on the north end. It’s been very hot and humid this summer, with 10+ inches of rain falling over our area over the last several weeks. Yesterday was no different, upper 80’s, high dewpoint, little breeze.
Occasionally we’ve seen dozens of dragonflies over the quarter-mile gravel road that leads to our house, but never anything like last night. At about 8:00, hundreds of 3-4 inch dark-colored dragonflies appeared. They were all flying from 20 feet to tree-top height, so we couldn’t see their coloration silouetted against the sky. Our house is near the road, and only a small number were swarming between the pine and oak trees, where the driveway meets the road. The rest were circling over the yard, concentrating from above the house and around the maple trees, and out to the apple tree, approximately an acre’s worth of area.
We like to spend summer evenings outside, watching the bats emerge, but haven’t been able to this year because of the massive mosquito and biting fly population. But last night, we could stand and watch the activity above us without being bothered by a single bug. As soon as we moved out from under the swarm, the biters were all over us.
It was quite amazing, and we were filled with questions about the event that we couldn’t find answers to in our standard field guides, so I appreciated finding your website, which explained a lot. Thanks!
I live on the northwest side of Milwaukee, WI and last night, 8/9/10 my son & I came home around 7:00 p.m and before we got out of the car my son said look at the dragon flies. I’m didn’t think anything about it because we have seen a few around our yard the last few weeks. But when I did look up, there were swarms of them, I’m talking 1,000’s maybe 10,000. They were everywhere, I looked in every direction and you could see them in the air for blocks in each direction, they were even hovering over they lawns. My son, who is 6, took his chair and sat in our driveway to watch them. I have never seen anything like it before in my life, I was excited thinking that they are going to eat all the pesky mosquitoes.
About 2 weeks ago Milwaukee was hit with a huge thunder storm that caused tremendous flooding. So with the flooding, heat, & humidity we are having it has created an excellent breeding gound for mosquitoes. I hope the dragonflies are here for that reason and I welcome them to stay.
I live in Dickson, TN and saw a dragonfly swarm last night, around dusk, in my back yard. We live around several large hay/cow fields. The only areas of water within several miles are small ponds and a creek. We do have a swimming pool which was about 10 feet from the swarm. I don’t know enough about dragonflies to know the species, but I would estimate about 30-40 large (about 3-4 inches) dragonflies. It was very amazing to see this as I’ve only ever witnessed 2-3 at a time. I had also noticed the past several days that there were more dragonflies than normal in our yard. I also was able to witness the beginning of the swarm. It started with only about 10 and then grew to the large number above. Very neat.
Thanks for the report! I haven’t heard of anyone seeing the beginning of their swarm before, so that’s great information to add to my database!
Each year around this time, the dragonflies swarm in the fields outside of my front door. There are thousands flying around – time of day is close to dusk, just as the sun in going behind the trees. If you catch the sunlight just right, you can see the reflection of millions of small insects coming out of the grass – they are minuscule. The dragonflies – darners – are quite large and not visible at any other time of the day. I live in rural New Hampshire.
A story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal about perfect weather conditions for large numbers of dragonflies locally:
I live in Lowell, Indiana, in a very small subdivision which is surrounded by fields of corn & soybeans. It’s been in the 90’s all week and extremely humid. My granddaughter went outside around dusk tonight, about 8:00 pm. She comes in yelling, “Grandma, something’s wrong outside!!” As I venture outside, I find our front yard swarming with dragonflies and swallows. There seemed to be hundreds or thousands of dragonflies! The dragonflies were circling or doing fig-8’s over our yard only. They were flying from inches above the grass to the top of a maple tree, also swarming over a specific car parked in front of the house. I’m not sure if the swallows were trying to eat the dragonflies, or if they were eating mosquitos like the dragonflies were. I suddenly felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie: The Birds. It was so eerie and beautiful at the same time.
Similar to Melinda’s note. At least 3 different sizes. Some very stocky bodies, some with long wingspans and others. It’s been hot and humid for weeks. Swallows also flying among them, but swallows didn’t seem to be eating the dragonflys. Perhaps they were feasting on the same small insects. Flying height 10-50 ft. Very jerky flying by both the dragonflys and swallows. Large bodies were not as plentiful as the “generic” dragonflys and the large winged ones were the rarest. Located in Joliet, IL about 40 miles from Lowell, IN About 7PM and clear. 88-89 degrees. We had some standing water around 2 weeks ago. Activity lasted about 45 minutes.
8/14/2010, 7:00PM – 7:30PM Central (dusk), northside of suburb Arlington Heights, IL, (35 miles north of downtown Chicago) typical suburban backyard, no fountains, no streams, etc. Lots of flowers in pots, though. Hundreds of yellowish dragonflies doing aerial acrobatics over the next door neighbor’s yard, from about 10 feet to 50 feet above the ground. Looked like a feeding frenzy to me; didn’t see any interaction between any 2 of the dragonflies. But, they seemed to be a team over the entire area of the yard, sweeping back and forth, up and down, with very sharp turns — much like a dogfight without contact.
This was around the 10th of August in Racine, Wis. Along Lake Michigan and it was awesome there were thousands of them….never in my lifetime have I ever seen something like that and I am 63 years old….
I’ve gotten so many reports like yours where people have told me they’ve never seen anything like this before in their lives. One man had lived in the same house for 60 years and hadn’t ever seen a swarm! I think it’s exciting that there are so many swarms appearing this summer – and the map I’m developing of the swarm reports is starting to look like one giant yellow splotch due to the huge number of reports. Explaining why there are so many this year and never before, though… Well, that’s a lot harder to do, and the reason why I’m collecting reports. Thanks for sending yours in!
We have had a swarm in our front yard for the past week, (mid-August) they appear in the evening between 6-8pm. We have a pond and there are several others in the neighborhood, but they swarm over the grass. We live in an open yard surrounded by woods. They fly from inches to several feet above the ground, there are perennial gardens and a vegetable garden in our yard and lots of wild blackberries. I don’t know the species. They are fun to watch diving up and down.
I should have added to the comment above that we live in Southern Vermont near the Green Mtn National Forest.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin swarm is over; lasted from Friday until this morning, Thursday, August 19. Thousands flying over almost a square mile for 6 days, at the Lake Michigan shore and adjacent. Fantastic.
Murray and Sarah
Thanks for the update! I appreciate it!
My husband was outside playing with our kittens and called for me to come see the dragonflies…several hundred were flying in our backyard and the cats were trying to chase them. We are farmers in Central Illinois near Champaign. First we have seen this many in one spot…we have been extremely dry in this area and very hot. Was very humid and no breeze..very interesting. Some did have blue on them.
Just went outside to take my dog out… Hundreds of dragonflies swarming the field just outside our apartment.
Walked over to get a closer look, it was beautiful…
Strange though, they wernt hovering like dragonflys usually do but they were flying around fast and several of them would ‘meet up’ and like hit each other and it made a loud buzzing noize…
A cool thing to watch nonetheless
Oh, I live in western Kansas by the way
I live just west of Madison, WI. This afternoon, Aug 31, 2010 a huge swarm of blue dragon flies were in roughly the area of 1/2 acre (my back yard). The swarm appeared to be all the same species and there were hundreds (maybe even a thousand). They were in town, roughly 1 – 2 feet off the ground, flying in circular and erratic patterns from 4:30 PM until 6 PM. It had just rained and the temps were in the mid 70s, with high humidity, with a light breeze. There are creeks within 1/4 mile of the swarm. Lakes are roughly 6 miles away. Not one flew higher than 15 feet.
Totally amazing. I walked through the swarm several times. They just flew around me and the dog but, didn’t scatter or move off. I was looking to see if they were feeding or what was causing them to stay in the yard. I didn’t see any bugs. But, the mosquito populations have been insane this year.
This was so cool!!! I found your website and was amazed
Hello Dragonfly Lady I just witnessed a swarm of greenish yellow dragon flies about 4 inches long on 8-31-2010 at about 6:00 pm central time I also noticed that there was flying ants around too. I live between two creeks and between two lakes also but i have never seen this in the fifteens years that i have lived in Fridley, Minnesota. They were flying eratic and bumping into each other high and low in my back and front yard and also my neighbors front and back yard I looked over to the other neighbors yard and nothing there just are two houses I let the dogs out and they just sat there and watched all the excitment between the dragonflies. It was hot and humid about 92 degreesand it rained in the morning that day. Can’t wait to see your explanation Thanks Kate in Fridley
Today, September 2, We saw rivers of dragonflies all afternoon along the Oregon coast from the mouth of the Columbia river to at least as far south as Seaside, about 20 miles south. There were thousands in the air continuously, and all going from north to south. They were often quite low, and I would say they ranged from 5 to 50 feet above the ground. They were seemingly all of the same species, and not necessarily the ones I usually see here. They seemed to be evenly brown, not the red or the blue ones that I usually notice. Maybe they flew in from somewhere else, maybe even across the Columbia river. I saw some over the water up at the river, but where I saw them the river is over 5 miles across. Probably no problem, right?
Believe it or not, this is actually quite a normal thing for many species of dragonflies to do! They aren’t often seen migrating in your part of the country, but nothing to worry about at all. I’m so thrilled that you wrote in though! It’s great to get a report from your area.
Saw the swarm yesterday, Sept. 2, 2010 in Mankato, MN. I was amazed! I have never seen anything like it. I had gone outside to trim my basil at about 5pm. I immediately came back inside because I was being attacked by swarming mosquitos. 15 minutes later, there were hundreds of dragonflies swarming in the yard. They swarmed for maybe an hour and then left. It was in the 70’s, slightly windy, and we had 2 inches of rain early in the morning with a few sporadic showers until noon. In addition to that it rained just over and inch the day before. We live on a golf course with a few ponds and the fairways had standing water on them. Great website! Thanks!
Just saw a swarm in the back yard. The nearest water is a pond 1/4 mile away. They were flying around the yard from a couple of feet up, to about 50 feet in the trees. It is 7:30 pm here in SE Kansas. 9/1072010
In 65 years, I have never seen this. It is gettting dark and I am unable to give any details on colors or species.
If they are still there tomorrow, I will get what info I can and send it to you.
My husband just called me outside (8/10/10 – 7:30pm) to see the dragonflies swarming above our house in Emporia, Kansas. It was about 10 feet above our roof, and they are flying in a jerky figure-8 pattern. It was a little nerve wracking, as we had never seen it before (and was only happening above OUR house – so I told him I was going to google it to make sure it didn’t mean anything bad! They appear to be black because they are flying so high we can’t really see any colors. It misted all day yesterday, but has been dry so far today. We are in a tornado watch, and the nearest storm is about 50 miles to the northwest. It’s 86 degrees and very humid. Now that I’ve seen your site, I will quit worrying about the dragonflies and go back to worrying about the impending storms! Thanks :)
We have a swarm of dragon flies above our cabin. We, my wife and I just noticed them at approx. 7:00PM on Sunday in Indiana. We live on a lake and the surrounding property is forested. I enjoy watching the dragon flies on the lake especially how territorial they are, in fact my boat dock is withen one particular males area and he attempts to chase me away. Anyway, the swarm is made up of several hundred dragon flies swarming erratically above our cabin which we do have a garden of potted vegetable plants on the roof below the swarm. Just an observation. Can provide a digital pic of it if you wish.
At 6:20 p.m., I was walking out of the house onto my backyard deck and saw hundreds of dragonflies flying at approximately 10 ft to 30 ft high. Some flew lower and I almost felt as if they were dive bombing me! They seemed to be flying in circles. This was in a very residential area in Edison Park, Chicago. They were flying over the garage, house and a cemented area. Earlier in the day, I had pulled numerous weeds that include little red berries out of a small 8 by 3 foot area. I had two small piles of the weeds on the cemented area. The last two days have been sunny and 72. Rain is predicted for tomorrow. I didn’t notice any different species as I was in awe and had never seen anything like this! I will be watching and if I see them again try to give more details.
I have a swarm everynight now for 3 days of THOUSANDS in front of my house I can’t even hardly walk in my front door! I have lived here for 20 years and never seen anything like this. There isn’t a water source for at leave 3/4 of a mile! Was hoping it meant good luck.
My husband got me up from a nap to come see a swarm around our back deck. There were maybe 60+ of them. Mostly blues but we caught a few flashes of green. We’re in North Western Kentucky. They were centralized around our water catchment bin, but there’s not a ton of access to the water for them and it was just emptied last week so I wouldn’t think there would be any insect hatchlings (although it’s possible). They didn’t hang out around the pool, which is stagnant this year (it’s above ground and with the 2 months of 100 degree heat we just didn’t bother to open it). I’ve seen individuals hunting in the garden (about 60′ away from the water tank) but I’ve never seen this many. It was really amazing. While we’re a small town – it’s still in town and the yards are average size. The area is partially shaded by an oak tree and it is clouding up for storms tonight and tommorow. 90 degrees currently. Great Site!
At 7:00 this evening my neighbor called me to tell me about the hundreds of dragonflies swarming our yards. We both have pools and I have various watering holes for animals to use. My yard is a native garden and our home is situated on a greenbelt. Maybe this has something to do with the swarm? Whatever the reason, I am thankful I was able to witness this amazing sight.
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I had come home from takin my nephew to school about 6;15 thursday evening! (sept 16th 2010) I noticed a bunch of dragonflies flyin along the high weeds along our driveway! We live out in the country way back a lane! i thought not much of the dragonflies at the time! Livin here,,,we see lots of wonderful things! Anyway,,, I was cleanin my car windows,,, saw a few dragonflies out and about! Within a matter of minutes,, there was hundreds of them flying just above my garden and the soy bean field (that my garden is nexty too! I have never seen so many,,,and I agree,,that was amazing! I dont know if they will be there tomorrow or not! As I read your article,,,you mentioned them feeding on little insects! As I was cleaning the inside windshield of my car,,, there was a bunch of little tiny bugs! I have no clue what they are! So I wonder if perhaps that is the reason the dragonflies had come! We did have rain earlier in the day! But at the time of the d flies…. it was warm and sunny,, with a wonderful breeze!
I can only say that some of the d-flies looked to have yellow on them.. perhaps some black! they move waaaaaay to fast! I dont know if this has helped with your study,, but just wanted to share the story! I did try to video them.. but had no luck! (Ironically…I am doing our bathroom in dragonflies!)
I have never seen a swarm of dragonflies like this before and I’m in my 30’s. My family and I live in an apartment building and there a many dragonflies swarming over the parking lot. They seem to have a pattern they are following when they are flying. They pair up and then separate continuously. We can walk outside and they will just fly around us, it is just amazing. Grass was just cut over here yesterday and the swarm began really early this morning, around 2 am is when my oldest daughter first seen them. It is interesting just watching them but we have no idea what brought them to our building, we have no water nearby that I know of. I came upon your site by googling “Dragonfly swarm”
Jefferson City, MO
First seen swarming around 2:00am on Sept. 18, 2010
Still swarming and it is 3:07pm on Sept. 18, 2010
We are looking at swarms in our front and back yard. We live across from a pond and wonder if thats why they are swarming. Rain is coming in here this evening. Amazing.
Sept. 19 saw a swarm in my yard (a creek a good ways away but no other ponds, etc.) in the afternoon in Columbia Missouri. In a neighborhood near downtown. Never seen one before!
I live just outside of Knoxville, TN in a rural community called Corryton. I had noticed an increased number of dragonflies in Knoxville where I work and also at my farm all summer, usually in the late afternoon, early evening. At my place I have seen green and blue dragonflies plus some black with white spots on their wings. Well, my husband I and were amazed to witness a HUGE swarm of dragonflies TWO nights in a row this past Friday and Saturday the 17th and 18th of September! There were hundreds of them, mostly blue and green and much larger than the ones I had noted earlier this summer, some must have been 4 inches in length. They were flying in figure 8’s mostly over our driveway and our pasture some moving just 2-3 feet from the ground and others as high as I could still see their forms, and the rest in between. A real treat, probably lasting from 6 pm until sunset the first night (about 7:30) and the second night it ended a little sooner just before the sun actually fell below the horizon. I noticed a plethora of very small flying insects in the sky with them at the same time both nights and figured they were feeding. I have also noticed a huge increase in our mosquito population at this same time of day for the last two weeks. The temperature has been in the low 90’s upper 80’s for the last several weeks, clear and sunny with only about two days of rain. Of note, it rained Thursday before the first swarm on friday. There is no water on our property. I tried to film it with my cam corder but they were moving so fast it was difficult to capture them! If the video is somewhat decent when I review it I will email you the file!
Just saw a hundred+ flying in my back yard. decided to google and found this place. It was around 7pm ,sept.23. Never seen anything like it before it was wild. I live in upstate SC.
There was a swarm in my backyard a day or two ago. It was afternoon, if I remember correctly, and they were swarming over the grass in our yard. We live near Columbia, Tennessee. There is a pond in our neighbor’s yard, but it is a few acres from this particular field. Most of them were swarming near the ground, but some came up higher. It was hard to tell exactly how high from the window I was looking out of. Its been really hot here for months. The weather just suddenly changed today, though, and became kind of chilly.
Ok, so I just saw my first dragonfly swarm tonight. We were sitting on the beach (Isle of Palms, SC) around 5pm and suddenly there was thousands of dragonflies everywhere. It was an amazing site! I am sorry I can’t be more specific as to what type as I really know nothing about dragonflies but I did get some video with my iPhone. I am out of town right now & do not have the cable to plug it up to the computer so I am not able to really see if the recording will really show anything. The temp was around mid to high 70’s and there was storm clouds that covered the sky but we did not get any rain and the wind was quiet strong. We were amazed at how well the dragonflies were able to fly against the wind. I didn’t really notice a flying pattern although I wasn’t really paying attention to that, but they were flying in heights from about 6ft up to 15-18ft. They were flying from the north to the south. Once I check out the video I can send you more info.
I forgot to mention that the dragonflies were flying over the sand on the beach as well as the dunes & grassy area and we didn’t notice any other insects. The weather this week has been in the 80’s and we haven’t had any rain but we are supposed to get cooler weather starting tonight. Also I mentioned they just appeared and were around for about 4 mins and then just disappeared. They def. did not fly as high as 100 ft no more than 20 – 25ft up.
Just in case anyone is subscribing to the comments on this page and is interested, I’m doing a series of reports on the data I collected on my blog this summer. Check out the first post here:
I saw a swarm in my backyard in BRISTOL, WI (KENOSHA COUNTY) on July 24, 2010. There were different types of dragonflies flying somewhat close to my trampoline, that has a BLUE pad around its circumference. I have NEVER seen such a thing, and the dog and I walked in their midst, the swarm just continued. I couldn’t count how many dozens but there seemed to be at least 4 dozen. Didn’t know whether they were attracted to the color blue thinking it is water. I have a pond in the back also, they were no hovering over it. I looked over to my neighbors, didn’t see ay there. I couldn’t believe it, they were swarming like bats. They came later that summer, or fall, but I didn’t log the date. They were in the very same location, close to the blue rimmed trampoline that is sitting on green grass. They were swarming between the trampoline, and over a pine tree, just before the gravel road, circling in a circumference of maybe 6 yards. We ALWAYS have tons of mosquitoes, even though our we have our property sprayed for mosquito reduction. I took video on 7-24-10 using my phone camera, but I can’t see anything when replaying it on my phone. Maybe if I transfered it to a larger screen, haven’t done so, yet.
i live in lubbock texas its alot of dry ground here not much water at all.and my yard is coverd in blue dragonflys almost 4 nights a week . we live in a neighborhood with alot of the same yards and nothing special .there are no other yayds that have even 1 dragonfly in it .its very cool i think its something spiritual.
How amazing! I would love to have dragonflies in my yard that often! I’m glad you enjoy them.
I ran into one yesterday. One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen this year. Libellula pulchella & Tramea lacerata I believe were in the mix. I hope they’re there when I go back because I plan on trying to catch some. *^^* Wonderful wonderful blog. Thank you! Will be linking this to my blog for excellent reference.
God bless our little friends. ♥
Fun! If you have a few minutes, I’d love it if you’d submit a swarm report! Just hover over The Dragonfly Swarm Project at the top of the page and click on Report a Dragonfly Swarm and it will take you to the report form.
We have 100’s of Dragonflies this year in our backyard. They seem to be fairly dormant during hot dry spells but after a good rainfall they swarm around the yard for a week or so. I love having them around as last year we rarely saw a dragonfly and had 1000’s of mosquito’s to contend with. This year we can enjoy our outdoor life and even stay outside in the evenings. Is there a trick to keeping dragonflies around or is this just a lucky year for us??
We had a swarm at 6:00pm CST until 8:00PM CST. We live in Lake City, IA. I can’t identify species, but their may be a few. Most were HUGE! with a 5 inch wingspan. (mostly black. I saw a bit of red a few times….glinting) They were doing CIRCLES..Figure 8s…(there were 10s of 1000’s)….both close to the grass and all the way up 20 feet. When I first came out I noticed some were ‘bumping into’ each other…but never bumped into me or my 4 children playing outside. they were flying very very fast for these 2 hours. While the sun was setting they left before darkness descended. We live in the country and have cornfields. The weather has NOT been dry or unusually stormy. It was about 80deg yesturday, and then this morning it was rather cool.
Up on the rooftop we could see that they only seemed to stay in about 2 acre acrea.
I see the original post here is an older one but your information is the top hit on the web when one is curious about a dragonfly swarm as I was today. Mine was definitely in the hundreds, on a hillside on my property, and circular or figure-8. They were large, hefty dragonflies, all of them at least 2 inches or longer. I am in central New Jersey, near the Delaware River which is full to capacity after Irene and much rain in the week afterwards. I have never in my life seen a swarm of dragonflies. It was one of the strangest and most magical things I have ever seen.
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Hi..we live in Australia.Everytime the kids are in the Pool two dragonflys are coming and they fly very close to the kids for as long as they are in the water.My daughter thinks fairys sit on them.The dragonflys seem to be very inerestet in the kids splashing around.Why do the come when the kids are in the pool?
Hmmm… That’s a good question! I’m not sure what’s going on there, but let me look into it a bit. Interesting!
We are experiencing a static swarm right now, probably a few hundred (Delray Beach, FL). This has happened before.The strange thing is when I am in the back of the house they are there. When I move to the front of the house, they follow. With the Static swarm it seems there are some kind of boundaries or perimeter in place and if you try to follow a single dragonfly it seems when it reaches the edge it turns back towards the middle. In my humble opinion this phenom is spiritual in nature as if they are being corralled by some kind of electro-magnetic field(s).
Fun! Don’t suppose you’d be willing to submit a report for my project? The form is at https://thedragonflywoman.com/dsp/report/. I’d really appreciate it!
Today at work very far from water everyone noticed a swarm of dragon flies flying around. We are in an industrial area so this is very uncommon. We found a stump that either winged ants or fly termites were flooding out of. for about an hour they flew and wiped out the swarm in less than an hour depleted the other insects numbers to zero. The flying insects stopped their swarm of leaving the stump as the Dragon flies rounded up the rest of the lil flying insects. The sky was covered by the dragon flies in an area of 80 ft in all directions and no higher than about 20ft high. I live in North Carolina and in my 25 years of living here I have never seen such a thing.
Nice! Mind if I ask where in NC? Just wondering how close you are to me. :)
I’m in the High Point , Thomasville Area and you?
That is not far at all, how many times have you seen an event like this? This is my first one of its kind for. I have been too the Okefenokee swamp many times and seen a beautiful mix of different types of Dragonflies but they were doing their patrols and moving the way most dragonflies do not like they were here at my work all sporadic and away from water.
Where I work in Raleigh, I’m now up to about 20 or so swarms. Other places in NC, about 5 or 6, one in Missouri, and one in Arizona where I started this project.
That’s very interesting I hope to see more. An wish your studies the best.