Since I put out my request for reports of dragonfly swarm sightings a month ago, data have been streaming in! I thought it was time to give a brief report of the dragonfly swarming activity in North America this summer so that everyone who’s sent a report in can see how much I appreciate your sending me reports. I couldn’t be happier with the information that’s been coming my way, so thank you all so much for helping me track this behavior. Keep the reports coming!
First things first. In my next post, I’m going to cover a paper I came across on dragonfly migratory swarms in North America from 1998. I think it will give everyone a better idea of why these swarms might be forming and what they’re doing. For now, just know that there are two types of swarming behavior:
- Migratory swarms. These are effectively rivers of hundreds of thousands of dragonflies all flying in a single direction and covering large distances. These types of swarms are like bird migrations or the migrations of monarch butterflies – lots of individuals traveling together between habitats and usually made up of a single species or with one dominant species and a few other minor players. These swarms move very quickly and may appear and disappear in a matter of minutes. The dragonflies in these swarms typically follow significant waterways and fly high above the ground (20-100 feet).
- Static swarms. This is the type of swarm I reported on last summer and the type that prompted my interest in this behavior. These swarms contain far fewer individuals than migratory swarms (20-1000 instead of tens of hundreds of thousands) and are highly localized. Individuals in the swarm will remain restricted to a very small area (like one field or yard or hill) and fly in a circular or figure-8 pattern about 1-20 feet off the ground, usually over a grassy area. These swarms are likely feeding swarms and may contain one to several species of dragonflies in about equal proportions. (Please read the post from last summer linked above for a more detailed description of the behavior of the swarm I witnessed and a video.)
These two types of swarms, though very different, might be related to one another. There are some striking similarities between the two types that suggest that this might be the case. For one, the known migratory dragonfly species are the same species that appear to be making up the static swarms. Also, both types of swarms occur during the same part of the year. Last, both types of swarms seem to be weather related. Almost everyone who has reported a swarm has also reported a recent storm or an incoming one, especially after a long period of hot, dry weather. Weather is thought to play an important role in the migratory swarms as well.
When I wrote my initial posts on dragonfly swarms, I got a few reports from people who had seen them in other locations. I also got several people stumbling onto my blog after searching for dragonfly swarms on the internet. Last summer I got maybe 30 hits a week on my swarm pages and none at all for most of the rest of the year. This year, I’m getting 500 hits a week! Clearly, something is happening this summer that is making these swarms much more abundant and visible than they have been in the past. I can’t, of course, say for sure why this is, but I suspect it has something to do with the weather pattens we’ve seen this year. I saw a report on the National Geographic website a few days ago that said that this is the hottest year on record in the US – and we started recording weather data in the late 1800’s. Perhaps the hot weather and the recent rains have something to do with the huge number of swarms (and the large size of some of these swarms) that have cropped up this year.
So what patterns have I been able to identify from the data I’ve collected from reports from readers? There are definitely a few locations that have a lot of static swarming activity recently:
- Eastern Missouri in the St. Louis area. There seem to be many swarms within a massive area from slightly north of St. Louis south to the MO border and extending west to the central part of the state. These swarms are highly localized when they appear and are often in one person’s yard or field and not in the yard/field next door. The swarms have been made up of several different species and consist of several hundred dragonflies. It has been quite hot in the area, but they’ve had some recent storms.
- Northern Illinois/Wisconsin. These swarms may be part of the Missouri action because they are very similar. They also cover a large area, consist of mixed-species in highly localized areas, and they’ve been showing up after storms. It’s been hot in this area recently too.
- New Jersey. These sightings seem to be completely unrelated to the swarms in the Midwest, but they’re spread across the state. The swarms are a bit smaller than the Midwestern ones (20-100 individuals), but they’re often made up of multiple species and have appeared before or after storms.
Other sporadic swarms have been reported in Iowa, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, New York, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, and Saskatchewan.
Based on the data I’ve collected so far, it looks likely that in many areas, there are very large, widespread groups of dragonflies. The swarms people are seeing in their yards may be a subset of these larger super-swarms. I’m starting to think this because I’ll get 20 different reports from one rather large geographic area all describing the exact same thing over the course of 3 or 4 days. I’ll get another 20 reports from another area, all with similar descriptions and within a few days of each other.
I did also get several individual reports of a massive migratory swarm in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas earlier this week. The accounts I heard suggest that the swarm was made up of truly staggering numbers of dragonflies, maybe hundreds of thousands or millions of individuals, that all flew right by the 6th floor windows of several buildings. One reporter said he couldn’t see the building across the street as the dragonflies flew by! They were all flying parallel to the river and in a single direction and the whole event was over in less than a minute. Wow. I would have given anything to see that! If anyone else is lucky enough to witness an event like this, I hope you will send a report to me! However, though I got many reports of this single event, they’re the only reports of anything like migratory swarms I’ve gotten all summer. It appears that the static swarms are much more common than the big migratory swarms, but I think there’s a good chance that they’re related to one another.
And this is where you all come in! Keep sending me your reports! With your help, I might be able to get a better handle on the movements of my proposed super-swarms and determine whether the migratory and static swarms are actually related. I might also be able to determine whether the Midwestern swarms are all part of one giant swarm or the Missouri and Illinois/Wisconsin swarms are separate. Plus, I have a feeling this is a special year for this behavior and we might never see another summer like this again. I’d like to collect as much data as I can now so that I can compare this year to future years and to take advantage of the abundance of swarms that are cropping up throughout the country.
Check back soon for the summary of the migratory swarm behavior paper! Judging from the number of people who have been searching for information on dragonfly swarms on the internet this summer, it might be quite interesting for people hoping to explain the phenomena they’ve been seeing in their backyards.
(Want more information about dragonfly swarms? Visit my Dragonfly Swarm Information page for my entire collection of posts on dragonfly swarms!)
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!
Want more information?
Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!
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218 thoughts on “Dragonfly Swarms Revisited”
I would love to know why there is so many dragonflies all over oour area I live in the Biloxi Mississippi area the last to days you can see dragonflies every where you drive any answer why it is unbelievable
I had a large swarm of dragonflies in my yard on 08/30/10 from about 5 to 7:30 pm. I live in Maurice River Township, about 150 yards from the Maurice River. The swarm consisted of hundreds of large dragonflies (~4″ long). My husband, neighbor and I speculated that it was a mating behavior? The swarm remained in our yard, over the large vegetable garden for about 2 hours before moving on. The weather here has been very hot, (upper 80’s when the swarm was active) no rain in over 1-1/2 weeks, t-storms predicted for Thursday. None of us had ever seen this happen before and were quite impressed.
How odd. I just came home and some dragonflies were swarming in my front yard. I live in Long Beach, CA. There were probably 20-30. I did a Google search and found your post. They are circling about 1 to 5 feet off the ground — there is nothing on the grass lawn that they seem to be lighting on or feeding on. Upon closer look, I see they are mainly doing figure eights. It’s warm here – maybe 80 degrees and mid-afternoon.
We just had a short passing storm, after a days of awful heat (today was well over 100 degrees with humidity). I’m in Wilmington, NC (southeastern NC) and stepped outside after the storm to see at least 30 dragonflies swarming over my yard. Just as the post before me, there seems to be nothing they are feeding on, although I hope they eat the mosquitoes! They are flying mostly in a figure 8 pattern about 30 feet off the ground. Pretty cool site with the storm clouds behind them in the distance.
I’m in Palmyra WI, halfway between Madison and Milwaukee. There have been swarms over much of our yard during the last week, probably hundreds if not more. Previously they were behind the house and tonight they are in front. They are doing circles/8s within four feet of the ground and you can see small bugs (mosquitoes I hope) making a break for it out of the garden/grass.. two or more dragonflies will converge toward it and the bugs get quickly swooped up before they get 5 or 6 feet off the ground.
Thanks for the details! I’m glad you saw the bugs flying out of the grass too. I suspect those bugs are the reason why these swarms are forming where they do as they are extremely localized. I’m envious you have so many in your yard too.
I appreciate the report!
Just witnessed a huge static storm! Found you googleing “massive dragonfly swarm.” Most spectacular to witness, gave me goosebumps.
Thanks for providing this information DF Woman!
BTW, also in Palmyra, WI Hi chuck, we must be close-by!
August 2, 2010 Romeo, Michigan ( SE part of state). Swarmed between 5:30 PM & nightfall, on mowed grass, about 50 feet from edge of pond. Was 88 degrees out, no wind. Swarm about 100 feet by 40 feet, flew back & forth about 1 foot up to 12 feet above grass, every so often some flew way up in the air. There were some birds circling above them. Too many dragon flies to count, some much larger than others. None tonight. We have noticed them in same area swarming in past years.
I also live in Romeo, Michigan. For the last 2 nights (8/9 & 8/10) I have had static swarms of dragonflies in my yard. These dragonflies fly anywhere from 1 to 12 feet off the ground. They are quite large in size and too numerous to count. Also with these dragonflies come swallows circling them. It is quite an interesting thing to observe.
I just witnessed a dragonfly swarm over a grassy area of my yard here in NW Indiana (Aug. 3). There must have been 50 or more flying and swooping. I couldn’t tell if they were all the same type because they were flying so fast it was difficult to make out details. But they all were rather large–almost the size of hummingbirds. We had storms early this morning, but the afternoon was sunny, hot and humid. It was about 6 pm when I spotted the unusual activity. It went on for about 1/2 hour after I noticed them and then they were just gone. I’ve never seen anything like this.
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I was startled by the “static swarm” of dragon flies this evening – August 3, 2010; 7-9 pm. This was in our farm yard – 7 miles north of Waverly, Iowa. There were about 100, over grass, 1-15 feet off the ground. An hour later, they were much higher: 10-15 ft off the ground.
There were a number of swallows flying amongst them. Nearby was a nest of winged ants in the grass. I do not know species – they seemed all alike – about 2-3 inch bodies and clear wings.
Your site was most helpful answering my curiousity, thank you.
We had a VERY humid day in the 90’s; have had a lot of rain recently; there may be a storm tonight.
I was visiting Hopkinton, Iowa when I noticed a large swarm of dragonflies both yesterday and today. They were 1-20 feet off the ground. They were chasing bugs and the barn swallows were chasing the dragonflies. I caught and released a few with my butterfly net. I found at least 3 different kinds. Most of them were green, some were blue, and others were black and yellow. Recently, there was a flood here because the Delhi dam broke. Today we had 2 inches of rain. A mile away I found another swarm. In the yard there were lots of ants with wings. This happened from 7:00 until 8ish.
Thank you for the information. :)
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Yesterday 8/4/10 I received 2 emails from birding friends. One had been seeing huge swarms of dragonflies along Rt. 9 near New Russia, NY. He didn’t know species. I then received an email from a friend who had just driven up the road up Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY, and from 11 am – 1 pm there were thousands of dragonflies. Cars were hitting a killing many. He sent a picture, and the ones that he saw were Aeshna interupta. Last evening I got 2 phone calls about dragonflies all over Lake Placid, NY. I drove out Averyville Lane to a home, w/a large pond, and large field. There were darners feeding from 1ft to 30 ft. in the air, and it was over the grass east of the pond. I caught mostly Aeshna interupta, but also found a new county record for Aeshna tuberculifera. I’ve seen my fair share of feeding swarms,,,but this was unbelievable. Can’t begin to figure out how many were there. It had rained hard about 2 am the night before, and then we were in the 80’s and very humid yesterday. Believe there were bugs emerging from the grasses that they were feeding on. I know they weren’t flying ants, as I would have been able to see them. Driving roads to get to this house was just a cloud of Dragonflies, and I couldn’t believe there could be so many!!
I live adjacent to a good-sized stream in northern CT (Stafford). I’ve observed the static-type swarming annually for the past several years. In past years, I’ve seen an estimated 50 to 75 dragonflies swarming over our chip-seal driveway. The last two days (8/4 and 8/5), I’ve observed them in early evening over the landscaping and brick walk in front of our garage (just around the corner from the driveway). They always fly about 1 to 5 feet off the ground, in the figure 8 type-of-pattern you described above. The other night I stood on the edge of the area watching them, and they weren’t disturbed by my presence in the least. Once in a while one would stray over the driveway, but then return to the group. I’ve never noticed any smaller bugs in the areas where they’re swarming, but I’ll look closer in the future. I don’t know enough about dragonflies to tell you which species were present. By the way, your “contact page” link is broken.
Thanks for letting me know about the link! Oops! It should be working now…
I just looked outside and saw a dragonfly on my railing of my upper porch.I happened to look out over the canal( we live on Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township, Mi) and noticed about 10-15 flying around. I yelled for my daughter to take a look and by then there were hundreds and hundreds flying around at about the height of a 2 story home maybe a bit higher . They kind of looked like small birds. This is very unusual for our area. We normally may see one or two a summer. I just looked ouside again and though not as many in one spot they are definately still flying around. Almost like attack of the dragonflies. Haha!
Thank you everyone!! I am so glad to see how common dragonfly swarms are!
My happened in my front yard Aug.4 early evening (7-8 pm). Prob. 20-30 of them, plus birds. Very humid that nite, also. Walking around the yard looking for what was attracting them, I did find out I had a sink hole (which I fell into!!! caused by a large decaying tree stump from years ago. Wonder if the dragonflys were after the bugs down in there!!
I live in Newark, DE
August 5th, Hays, KS. Witnessed a static swarm in the park behind my parents house. They looked to be the same species. 50 to a 100 of them flying between 1 to 20 feet above a grassy area. We watched them for at least 15 minutes. Tonight August 6th we came home to our house which is across town and there were about 30 of them in our yard flying about 1 to 15 feet off of the ground. The funny thing is they we pretty much only in our yard. My son and I walked down the block to see if they were in anyone elses yard and they weren’t. Our yard is mainly grassy and open, the rest of the houses on the block have trees. we watched them fly for about 15 minutes and went inside for a few minutes then came back out and they were gone. It has been very hot here for the last 3 weeks, between 100 and 108 degrees. Yesterday the temp dropped to 93 and today it was it was in the mid 80’s. We also had a small storm roll in today with some sprinkles.
I forgot to mention the the dragonflies were of the bigger variety some with brown bodies and some with blue shinny bodies. Most of them had black and clear spotted wings. We actually don’t see much of the bigger ones around here, it’s usually the thin smaller ones. I also noticed that they were flying in a circular pattern. I didn’t notice if they were catching bugs.
Irvine, California, I live about a block away from a large man-made lake I was out in the back yard at four this afternoon, and a swarm of about 20-30 or so reddish dragonflys flew into my yard moving towards the lake.
They were there for almost twenty minute making lazy arcs anywhere from five to fifteen feet above the ground. They never ran from me, nor did they run into me, they just peacefully shared my yard for a good part of an hour. I had never seen or heard of anything like it, so I looked up dragonfly migrations and that led me to your page.
Thanks for all of the reports everyone! I hope to get several more this summer, so keep them coming!
on 8/05/10 my grandson and I saw about 30-40 Dragonflies in my back yard right before dusk. They were doing figure eights. They were about 20 feet off the ground and I told my grandson they were probably eating.It looked like there were 2 different types which I thought maybe male and female. They were huge. I’m hopeing the bats didn’t intercept any as they were above the dragonflies. It was very humid and hot that day. They hung out in my yard for about an hour and took off. It was very cool to see and watch. We prob. will never see that again. Your website is very interesting. Thanks for the info
Walton Hills, OH (near Cleveland)-
We live on the fringe of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with a stream about 100 yards from our house; which sits on the top of a hill. We experienced much the same thing as many other posters here. The swarming activity (30-100): dragonflies putting on a display of aerial acrobatics in the early evening, with bats swooping in sporadically–but, not appearing to disturb the dragonflies. I have read about flight competitions for mating, and was wondering if that had anything to do with it. The weather was hot (high 80’s) and extremely muggy. We couldn’t see any bugs, but that does not mean there weren’t any. Never saw anything like it–almost Hitchcockian!
8/8/2010. I have never seen swarms of dragonflies before but they have popped up all over our neighborhood in Oak Creek WI (near the high school). I was hoping they were out there eating the bumper crop of mosquitos we’re dealing with. They seem to flying in circles above our lawns. I don’t know how many different species are out there.
My mom and I saw a huge swarm of dragonflies last Week July 28th right on a beach (well the cliff or hill) of Lake Michigan north of Milwaukee-It was beautiful-WE never had seen anything like it before-They were swirling around like you mentioned as a static swarm-HUndreds and Hundreds-The were over a hill that had many wild flowers and of course many BUGS!!! two days later they were completely gone-Not one in that area. Tonight I was shopping and was going into a mall in the general area (north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and I saw Thousands upon Thousands flying west!!!More like you mention in the Migratory swarms. When we came out 15 minutes later they were mostly gone! Lucky us though we live a bout 5 minutes west of the mall and when we got home about a hundred were hovering in our yard for a good long while-TRULY AMAZING! I sat on the ground just watching them catch bugs!!!!!
OH -Forgot to mention they were HUGE!
That is really nice you were able to enjoy it so much! It really is a phenomenon, isn’t it?! Never saw it before this year at my house!
Milwaukee Dragon Flies:
I was otside with my dogs a noticed a static swarm. There were probably 25 or so large dragon flys swarming in a figure 8M this happened in Readlyn, iowa at about 6pm
from about 6:30pm to 8:00pm
West Allis, WI, 53219
A huge swarm started flying around the back parking lot. There seemed to be 3 species…all were around 3-4 in. long. Very thick.
Not familiar with most dragonfly species, so forgive the following commentary: Big Red Ones, Big, Shiny Blue Ones, and the largest were definitely the Big Dark Green Ones. :)
It was getting late, so I may be off on the colors a bit due to the low light (as well, they were flying damned fast). They seemed to vary from 40-50 feet up, all the way down to the grass at the bottom of a small hill.
Sadly, my camera couldn’t focus on the little buggers. Still, it’s a neat phenomena that I’d never heard of before.
I filed a report using the link, but I thought I would also post, so the other readers could see.
08/09/10 – about 7:05 PM – Warren, OH, right in my back yard – the fenced in part between my house and my garage – about a 20′ x 20′ or so area.
It was great! This was the first swarm I have EVER seen and that is how I found this site. Thank you for this site! There were about 100 mostly in my fenced in area. I was out with my 4 dogs…they did not bother me or my dogs, but it was incredible to see them. Some of the seemed to be still at times, but they would dive here or fly off and come back. It looked like they were catching bugs. The deer flies and horse flies have been bad this year, so I am hoping they got a bunch of them. It was in the high 80s yesterday and very humid. I am not sure how long they were there before I got there, but they stayed for about another 15 minutes. A very cool thing to see. Unfortunately my video camera was dead, but I have it charging today…I am hoping to see them today – the weather for today is supposed to be just like yesterday – hoping that will get them to come back.
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. We sat outside for about 45 minutes and there was no decline in the amount of the dragon flies. My husband had even been as someones house a few miles away and they experienced the same thing.
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.
Was waiting for the Metra train at 6:15pm yesterday in Lake Bluff, IL (due north of Chicago). Muggy humid day in the mid-80’s. Decided to kill some time and walk over to the nearby small town park. I suddenly found myself standing in the middle of a giant static swarm. Hundreds of big, thick, and dark looking (maybe greenish?) dragonflies hunting around and around for what I assume to be mosquitos. First time I’ve ever seen one. Simply amazing. Like watching old WWI fighter planes in a dogfight…
August 10th 2.20pm Soquel CA ( Santa Cruz county)
Just watched about 20 dragonflies over my garden pond.. flying about 12 feet above the ground between a plum tree and an evergreen tree. The temperature is around 70 degrees and sunny. They were flying back and forth between the trees and darting at each other.
Last week, filled the farmyard 1 to 10 ft. off the ground with barn swallows doing the same over head, quite the site. Tonight, in small groups, just dragonflies on the edge of the bean field. We’ve never had this before. We are at the tail end of sulfur butterflies (small yellow ones) grouping around the wet/damp places on the gravel road. In the past we might get Monarchs passing through, it will be interesting what else will come this way.
Spencer, IA (Northwest Iowa) 100 miles southeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
I saw the very first horde of dragonflies on the southern shore of Manitoulin Island today, 10th August 2010 at 6 PM. I did not see the species, but there were many Skimmers and Darners. Thanks for a great read!
Since 8/9 I have been seeing swarms in Kenosha Co. off Hyw H and KR. Also have been see them in the city limits near retention ponds. And around area parks in town. Have been seeing them between the hours of 4p to 8pm. They seem to be dark in color some are huge looking. It is an amazing sight to see so many at once, sure hope they are feeding off all these skeeters. I have tried taking some pictures with my camera, but unfortunatly nothing has turned out where you can see them.
August 11th – there was a swarm of a hundred or maybe twice that many just off of my deck over the lawn tonight just before sunset. There were also barn swallows swarming above them on this very hot, humid and quiet night. Never saw anything like it before! I came inside and found your site. Thanks for helping me figure out what they were and why!
Live in rural NW Iowa and have not hundreds but thousands of dragonflies. Started seeing them first week in Aug. and as of today Aug 11, the population has soared. Start seeing them around 6 pm and they disappear around 7:30 -8 pm. They are everywhere, over the corn and bean fields, in the yards, etc. The barn swallows are right in there with them. Amazing sight!
Have had extremely hot humid and very wet weather.
I live in Northern Ky, about 8 miles from the Ohio river. I have a small runoff creek behind my house about 200 ft, then Banklick creek which is 600 ft. from my house.The swarm is located in my side yard and is facing southward, around 100 maybe more of them. I looked to see what color and noticed only a few males, bright blue tails. The rest were female and were doing a circular pattern around the tallest trees which are around 20 ft. tall. The good thing is we have had robber flys for the past several days, which we have seen the dragonflys attack and eat. Robber Flys have bit my dog and cause extreme pain. The weather has been extremely hot, upper 90’s and we just had an afternoon thunderstorm. So it may have to do with that. Today is August 13, 2010
We live in the country near Hennepin, IL about 2 miles from the IL river. Tonight we had a large swarm, probably hundreds, in our front yard, flying from 1 to maybe 20 feet above the grass. As far as description all I could tell was they have some blue coloring on them, and are all at least 3 inches long – they didn’t land on anything and were too quick for us to see them clearly! We have never seen anything like this!
The weather has been in the 90’s and quite humid for the better part of the last few weeks and we had a bit of a rain storm yesterday.
I forgot to mention the birds flying above them – apparently swallows!
August 14, 2010
I live in Paddock Lake, WI.This is the third time that I’ve seen a swarm. Tonight, however there seems to be much more then the last 2 times. What looks to be about 2 dozen or more. Also, flying among the dragonflies are barn swallows and bats. Neither of which are eatting the dragonflies. The swarm is located between my back and front yard, approx. 15 feet above the ground, and approx. 1/4 mile north of a lake. I’m unable to see what size and color they are. They fly in a figure 8 pattern. The weather here, has been hot and humid in the upper 80’s to low 90’s. The last 2 nights, we had thunderstorms.
wow that’s close to the time i saw my swarm don’t know what part of wisconsin you’re in but i’m in nw illinois, check my account i think it’s two posts after yours
We live in Granger Indiana and we had a swarm of dragonflies in our yard this evening at about 6pm. This was a new experience for me and my husband. I was not able to identify the type of dragonfly because they were flying so fast.. They were large and there were 2 color variations, some were brownish and drab the other had a body that was a blue-green iridescent color. We observed them for about 20 minutes, but are not sure how long the stayed. When we got home about 30 minutes later they were gone. Most of them were flying about 1-2 feet off the ground. They did not seem to have a flight path but were flying in and around the huge blue spruces in our yard. When we left the house we saw another yard with a swarm and many other random or little clusters in other yards. Our yard alone must have had at least several hundred. We have had very hot humid weather the past week and it is very dry here. We do not have any wet areas in our neighborhoods but there are several very small swampy type areas within 1-2 miles of us.
Yesterday (8/14/10) at dusk I looked out my window and was amazed to see thousands of dragonflies circling above the parking lot. Across the way was a corn field and the nearest water is about a half mile a way. I went out and tried to get video of them on my phone but unfortunatly they are not discernable in the video. I live in Freeport Illinois and this occured about a half mile west of the yellow creek which runs through the area here, never have I seen anything like this. I want to note here that there were an extraordinary amount of mosquito’s in the area at the time and the dragons were replaced by bats as the evening progressed. It really was amazing tho!!
On 8/14 at around 7:00pm we had several different swarms in our back and front yard. They too seemed to fly in a figure 8 pattern and also had sparrows flying among them.We live in SE Mn. Very close to the Mississippi and other rivers and streams.Those are the only places where you see many dragonflies in our area on a regular basis. There was one large swarm in our front yard (several hundred) and several smaller swarms in the back yard. The weather around here has been very hot and humid. They seemed to be feeding, and were large in size.Not sure about the color or if they were the same .We have lived here for 25 years and never seen this before–AMAZING!!
On Saturday, August 14, around 6:45 PM, I saw/drove through a swarm of large dragonflies. I live in northern Illinois outside the town of Harvard. I was just leaving our farm to drive to my mother’s home in Walworth , WI. As I drove down the driveway, I saw large dragonflies swarming everywhere across the fields and all along the roadway. They were flying as low as the ditches and at car level up to 20 feet or more in the air. The swallows were having a wonderful time zipping through the swarm. The dragonflies (and swallows) occurred all the way along the roads for the 8 mile drive, though they were more numerous in some areas than others. I have never experienced a dragonfly migration such as this, but I was happy to know that the mosquito count was going down a bit and the swallows were feasting, too. The next night there were no dragonflies to be seen, so I assume they were just passing through on their way south.
8/16/10 Coalfield, TN (about 25 miles west of Knoxville) About 6:15 pm my kids ran in yelling something about dragonflies. Went out to find probably more than 100 huge dragonflies swarming in front of our house.
Most were very shiny, bright blue and some were green. While they were flying over the concrete drive, they flew about 5 to 8 ft high in a figure 8. However when they moved over the grass, they stayed very low and did not stay in formation.
They must have excellent eyesight and control, because my kids and I stood right in the middle of them and not one time were we touched. It was absolutely strange and wonderful! Could not catch on camera, only when one flew right in front of lens could you notice a quick black dot pass by.
It has been unbearably hot for weeks and the humidity has been extremely high. We have had thunderstorms in the afternoon more often than not for days. We stopped seeing the dragonflies between 8-8:30 pm. Shortly after we had another quick storm.
Last year we had a very small swarm (we thought then it was big!) maybe 25-50 and they were only there for a couple of minutes then gone. I was a bit afraid last year wondering what was going on, but this year I was more just fascinated. We hope to see them again when we have a better camera ready.
8/19/10 Like clock work about 4pm the mosquitoes hawks(what we call them in FLA) started swarming. We built our home in 1973. Every summer through fall we have a seen in the afternoon a flight of butterflies, humming birds and dragonflies. Now at 6:45pm the humming bird and a few dragonflies are flying about. Sometimes I have the dragonflies sun themselves on my deck.
We live in the mountains less than a mile from the white mountain national forest. We have our home in the forest. My gardens are mostly flowers now grown for humming birds and butterflies,
I live in Franklin North Carolina and I saw a large swarm in my neighbourhood yesterday August 19th at around 6:30pm.
The swarm covered my yard and several of the neighbours yards. It was amazing to watch and as I was driving up my road to come home I had to go really slow as they were all in the road too. They were around until about dusk, I managed to get one or two close up pictures and a very fuzzy video.
Aug 20 2010
Hundreds of large dragonfly and monarchs coming on shore heading northwest from the atlantic over Charlestown ri east of the breachway
We saw very large swarms in Rhode Island (south Kingstown). These occurred on 8/20/10 over a span of a few hours right over the beach in a wasterly direction i can’t tell how many species, but definitely more than one, and there were butterflies accompanying the swarm. The swarm stopped at dusk.
I live in Pensacola Florida (north west Florida) and I’ve seen two swarms recently. The first was about a month ago while I was at work around 3 o’clock and they all seemed to be flying north, I saw what looked like several hundred somewhat compact in distance from each other and it lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then tonight about 40 minutes ago i saw another one but they were going south this time, it also seemed like there were a little bit fewer and they were more focused in their direction of flight. This one also lasted about 20 minutes. I was curious about this and I ended up here… Maybe everyone’s information can lead to a more direct answer to what they’re doing
Thanks so much for sending in your sightings! It’s unusual for the same person to see swarms moving north AND south, so I’m very pleased to hear from you.
We have been building a pollbarn north of Corning Ia ,and right next to a cornfield ,I have seen hundreds of thousands hovering directly over the corn from mid morning til we leave at 530pm. It is like nothing I have ever seen and totally facinating ,which is what led me to this site .And now my curiousity is perked even more to read these apearences are so wide spread . Our rainfal is way above average and warmer than normal as well . The Dragonflies are in such an abundance and when we are working they almost seem curious to come over and check us out from time to time , I dont see other insects around but there are swallows flying with them , such an oddity is rare and quite an awsome spectical . I would hope some scientific reaserch could help explain this . I feel lucky to have seen this on a daily basis . I have also notices driving back to work after lunch that most cornfields have as many flying over them as well . There are many ponds and 2 lakes within 5 miles of this jobsite ,several creeks. Thank you for providing this post ,seems as if this is a Nationwide event !
Glad I came across this blog to see that this is happening in soo many places. I live outside of Maquoketa iowa….closest river is about 6 miles north but as has been posted – we have seen lots of rain this year as well as hot and humid temps. My first sighting was the first week of August; I was stunned by the sheer density and number of dragonflies…reminded me of the locust swarms you see on tv. I have never seen anything like it and am suprised that it keeps occuring – though the number of dragonflies has dropped dramatically. My dad called me this evening – he lives 26 miles west of me…and this evening is the first time he has seen them and he only lives about 200 yards from the wapsi. Thanks for providing all the info and I am glad others are posting their comments!
Interesting you should say the numbers reminded you of locust swarms. The paper on mass migratory swarms I posted about on 8/14/10 (https://dragonflywoman.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/massmigratoryswarms/) compared the number and density of dragonflies in migratory swarms to the number and density of swarming locusts and found that dragonflies fell about in the middle of the range of densities recorded in the locusts. So, they really can be as numerous and dense as locust swarms! Fun!
Hi! I found your website just after searching “dragonfly swarms” and have enjoyed reading the awesome information here. We witnessed this incredible experience tonight in our yard in Belton, Missouri. My eight-year-old son and his friend discovered them, and we all excitedly stood in the yard just letting them zip around us. They were high in the air and also low to the ground, and seemed to be spread across several houses. It was interesting because nearby were locusts buzzing in and out of a tree, and I also saw the swallows high overhead that some other people have mentioned. It has been very hot this week, and we had major thunderstorms blow through last night. I am going to cross my fingers that I see them again tomorrow, and will try to catch some in a net just to identify. I noticed that some were “fat” in comparison to the others. I took a video, but knew it wouldn’t do it justice. My son said, “I don’t think I’ll ever forget this.” I just can’t believe I’ve never witnessed this beautiful phenomenon before. Thanks for your site!
I love getting reports like yours! People who love their swarms and tell me that their kids don’t think they’ll ever forget seeing them make me so happy. If you happen to get a hold of some in your net, I’d love to know what kinds you have in your swarm! Swarms are the ideal place to catch dragonflies. They’re normally really difficult to catch, but they’re quite easy to snag while they’re swarming
Yesterday, August 21, in Pocatello, Idaho, around 6:30 pm, my mother saw a swarm of about 20 dragonflies circling and diving over her yard. She did not notice a particular flight pattern, but said they maintained an altitude of around 30 feet except for when they dove. We had unusually hot weather, with temperatures up to 97 degrees and wind gusts of up to 30 mph. Today the weather is cooler and the sky is smoky. We had a major fire to the west yesterday late in the day as a result of lightening.
I live in Cedar Rapids, IA. On the evening of 8/21, at roughly 7:30-8, well over a hundred large dragonflies approached in a direct line from the north (almost in formation), then formed a circling swarm above our house and yard. They were 10 to 25 feet above the ground. We live in a heavily wooded suburban area, approximately 2 miles north of the Cedar River. The weather has been hot and humid. It’s been a very rainy summer, with the most recent heavy rain on 8/20. They stayed for about 10-15 minutes. It was fascinating to observe.
Several bats appeared around the same time, so I suspect they were all feasting on mosquitoes.
Hi there. After witnessing a HUGE dragonfly swarm in my front yard, I did some internet research. I live in Seymour, Indiana (southern portion of the state.) Weather has been VERY dry here until yesterday. We had about 1/2 inch of rain. I noticed the dragonflies about 7PM and they’ve been at it now for about and hour & showing no signs of slowing down. My 8 yr old daughter & I took some pics (glad to share) and sat on the porch to watch. Fascinating spectacle of mother nature. Great website, thanks!
Effingham, IL. We had a swarm last week, just before a big thunder storm. They were in the hundreds.
We live in a rural area north-east of New Glarus, Wisconsin. There is a small creek about t 1/2 mile away, but no other water to speak of nearby. My husband first saw a small swarm of dragonflies about two weeks ago outside our house. They were just off our deck about 12-15 feet off the ground. It was about an hour before dusk, and he first thought he saw a hummingbird (which we have in abundance at our place). But there were lots, and once we began to pay attention, he identified them as dragonflies. I had never seen a dragonfly in person before, and was stunned by how large they were. We have seen them a few times since then, usually in the evening. It has been really hot, and stormy at times. Yesterday, August 21, at about 3 PM, we were in Paoli, Wisconsin, about 10 miles north of our place. It was a hot day, overcast, and quite humid. I saw at least 30 blackish/blueish dragonflies swarming over an old mill pond – the water was still (and quite clear, except for the algae floating on top), and some with dark brownish bodies, too. It was fascinating to watch – they never stopped moving – sometimes hovering, then all of a sudden gone. Like the ones we saw at home, they were quite large- the wingspans were easily 4 – 6 inches, by my estimation (is that possible?) – and the wing detail was quite distinct, even though we were 10 – 20 feet away. We watched them for almost 1/2 hour. I know I will never forget the experience.
Here in the Louisville Ky area, I’ve had a small static swarm of dragonflies.
I am right by 2 creeks, nestled in a clearing, surrounded by a mixed wood forest.
Starting in June, I had a small swarm of blue and black, and brown and black Dragonflies that have hung around the front yard, in my gardens.
The weather this summer has been very hot, and we have had rain here pretty much non-stop since May.
The Dragonflies just left out of my yard a couple of weeks ago.
I have lived here pretty much my whole life, and I’ve never seen Dragonflies, like I have this year.
I’m guessing there were 20-50 Dragonflies in the swarm that hung out here.
Beautiful figure eight ballet of very large dragonflies, approx. 30 in number, within 2 feet of our back door in North Augusta, S. C. Duration about 20 minutes. Unable to photograph or determine color, gender. Many smaller insects appeared in flower bed and on ground within minutes of the dance. Weather hot, humid for days prior to event with occasional late evening thunderstorm. Only one small bird noted briefly, undetermined species.
The ballet was mesmerizing!
You can add Oklahoma City and Guthrie,OK to your list of sightings. We had a couple of hundred swarming over our drive and carport and house last night in Southeast Oklahoma City, OK. They were circling and figure eights. They were beautiful. They were there for about 30 minutes. My friend in Guthrie, OK saw the same thing last week. We have just this week had a cool front move through. And we have had some very hot temps prior to that.
Our home in Port Isabel, TX fronts on the hyper saline
Laguna Madre bay, and about two miles from the Gulf of
Mexico. For about four days, each morning before noon
several hundred dragon flies gathered about forty feet above water level and facing the upper glass windowns of our three store home. They disappeared in the afternoon,
did not gather in front of the homes on either side –without
the glass windows such as we have, and did not return today. They could have been migrating, but the same group
would fly around for a couple of hours. They might have
mistaken the reflection on the glass as water, but did not
try to touch the windows. They could have been feeding,
but only in front of our house. We had high temperatures and humidity and a south east wind, from which they would
be shielded by the house. Today the wind has turned from
the north and they are gone. They were of several varied
colors, and there was one brilliant red dragon fly. If they were feeding I could not see the food.
We’ve been noticing a LOT of dragonflies hanging around parking lots this summer. We wonder if the reflective windshields/windows/roofs look like water to the poor critters. They seem to be those larger, chunky ones. Mysterious.
bt in Indianapolis
The dragonfly activity has been especially high in your area this year based on the reports of swarms I’ve been getting. It’s been a particularly good year for dragonflies. I think the weather has promoted an explosion in the population of the insects the dragonflies eat which has in turn attracted a lot of dragonflies and may even be keeping more than usual alive. I wish I could be there to see it! It’s sounded really amazing.
In Missoula,Montana, on aug. 21, a stream of over a thousand very large dragonflies flew basically through me as I was mountain biking at the peak of snow bowl ski area, approximately 7500-8000 foot altitude. I have never seen this before, and have been biking here for the last twenty years. They went fast, north to south, like they were on a mission. There were no bodies of water near.
There was a big migratory swarm that moved over Missoula on 8/22, so I imagine the dragonflies you saw were the first wave of that migratory swarm. How interesting that they were at such high elevation! That suggests that the dragonflies were going over the mountains rather than around, which is intriguing. Thanks for submitting your report!
Just came home at 8:15PM, Thursday – August, 26. First Dragon Fly Swarm ive ever seen. We are located 45mi NE of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have a lot of water around here so they are pretty prominate but ive never seen more than a dozen at a time. There is literally hundreds and possibly thousands flying directly over my house right now.
They range from about 15′ to 40′ up. When we first pulled in they had a large cloud half over our house and half over our yard. They then split up and stretched pretty much over the length of our 660′ driveway. It was hard to tell teh different species as there were so many, it is getting dark, and they werent holding still long enough for the eye to focus. I did notice that some had considerably heavier wings than others. There was a massive difference in wing mass.
Forgot to mention, it has been over 100deg F here for weeks. Yesterday a cold front blew in and the temps were 54deg this morning. This afternoon it dropped again and is currently in the 60’s. Just went outside and even through its darkening by the minute I can see they are gone….
Here in Jacksonville Florida the dragonflies have been swarming for the past week. There are a fair amount around my yard but two or three times as many in a neighbors. Flying in the figure 8 type thing some right at ground level some higher up. There seems to be no rhyme or reason although i guess there must be.
It has been quite hot this summer and until a week or so ago we had very little rain, got some heavy rains last week and now are having pretty frequent showers
1.July/to date 28th August
2.jacksonville beach florida, my front and backyard.. aprox 1/3 acre in a neighborhood. House on either side of me.
3. thousands of dragonflies only on our property!!! seriously!! no joke! not any one else in the neighborhood. My neighbor says that it has been like this for years. My dogs are scared to go out.
4. AM-PM all day non-stop.
have no idea if one or multiple species.
flying 1 inch to 7 feet.
5. hot,dry,sunny,cloudy,rainy,moist. We have had all conditions this summer.
very weird!! I have never seen anything like it before.
any ideas? esp since this happens every year only on our property
You must have something in your yard that the dragonflies really like. I’d guess you have some sort of insects that are emerging in your yard, but it would have to be a pretty steady stream of them to keep their interest that long. Is your yard different from the others nearby in some way? Like a different grass? Or maybe you have a different roof coating or something? The fact that they’re coming back year to year suggests that there is something special about your yard that the dragonflies really like. It is bizarre for the dragonflies to stick around that long, so there’s got to be some reason why they’re staying there. I’m just not sure what it is…
Aug. 28 — Fairfield CT. Came home today to find what I now know is a static swarm of dragonflies. Noticed them coming up the hill at 5:30 pm then found our yard and neighbors yards were full of them. At least a thousand, figure 8s and swirling. Just beautiful! Hasn’t rained since Wed or so. No humidity today, low 80s for a temp. Good luck with your study!
Aug. 29 – Stafford Springs, CT. Went outside to read in the late afternoon sunshine – filtering down through the oak trees I can see hundreds of dragonflies swarming over the grass in mainly shade speckled by sun. It is hot today after our first cool weather – had rained on and off for about 5 days. They are doing some serious figure eights! Came in to check google and found your site. It is 3:00 pm. Have been out there for about a half hour already, not really moving away, but seem to be going up higher. Will keep my eyes out for them now. Have at least 45 butterflies outside in the same vicinity on the butterfly bushes today, as well as some bees. Not interested in each other that I can see in any way. Very cool.
We live in Oakdale, NY – part of the south shore of suffolk county. We saw an active swarm of dragonflies at about 5:30PM tonight. We have never seen this phenomenon before. We do not have a pool – but our neighbor does. In the past – we have seen a random dragonfly – that we thought might have been attracted to her pool. They are still swarming and flying in both low and high patterns.
Havana, IL – Found your site after searching for dragonfly swarms. About 6pm this evening my husband and I saw a large swarm (50-100) dragonflies in our side yard above our truck and camper. We weren’t sure at first what we were looking at, since we had never seen such a swarm in our yard before. As we watched them we realized they were dragonflies circling & then wondered why they were here. The weather here has been hot & humid, today was in the 90’s. Glad I found your site & will be interested in seeing if anyone else in central Illinois saw any swarms!
There have been quite a few reports from your area this summer! I’ll be making a summary of what I learned in October, so I hope you’ll check back!
August 30. 2010, 7:15 P.M.
Dragonflies are out again, swarming over a small area of my yard. Neighboring yards, once again have no trace of them. There are fewer today, than last sighting. perhaps 40-45. They circle and most are keeping to a height equal to the height of the trees. (40 feet?) Most are maple trees. There is nothing in my yard that distinguishes it from any other, though I do have a bit more land than my neighbors. (3/4 acre vs 1/4 acre)
All but one or two are gone. It’s hard to follow their pattern as a group. Singly it seems they circle and double back and fly in the opposite direction. I will try to be more accurate if they appear again.
Yesterday, Aug 30, 2010, I witnessed one of these swarms over a soccer field in the east end of Toronto, Ontario (at Pape and Gamble) at about 7pm. There were hundreds of dragonflies flying overhead; I had a hard time keeping the kids focused on the game! It was really hot yesterday (+34oC). I also noted an emergence of ant reproductives at the field. I suspect the dragonflies were feeding on these. I’m afraid I did not get a species id.
We live in Northwest Sauk County, Woodland township, in a very rural area, 5 miles west of La Valle, WI. We have about 5 acres of lawn near a dense tree line and there are 3 strong springs feeding a small marshy area and a brook that runs into a creek that feeds the West Branch of the Baraboo River 2 miles from here.
The first time we saw a swarm was in late afternoon on 8/15/10 after a rain, one of many, after a hot period. There were thousands flying back and forth over our lawn for about 2 hours. A smaller group of hundreds appeared again over our large lawn on the 8/29/10. It was hot and humid and 3 days since the last rain. Today, 8/31/10, we are seeing them again shortly after a rain. This time in the thousands, appearing in late afternoon. In all of the situations, there have been several species, feeding in circular or figure 8 patterns 1 – 20 feet above the grassy areas.
Noticed approx 1950 hours over the grass covering the leech field.
Appeared to be only one species (I’ve seen hummingbirds that looked smaller).
Flight level was anywhere from 10 – 20 feet up.
May have been chasing small white bugs.
Weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity.
Oop’s, forgot, location Yale, MI
Yesterday August 31st at around 7 pm I walked outside my home in Blaine, MN and WOW I have never seen so many dragonfies !! There were billions of them and they all seemed to be heading South. You literally had to duck out of there way and driving was insane !! They streched from my home to the store about 2 miles away. It was amazing !! Being from MN were critters/birds/insects dont last the cold winters I just assumed they wew migrating. Definalty a sight to see !!
I walk to and from work daily along the same route, and this morning, September 1, was my first experience with this swarm. I will be observing it in more detail if is there on my return walk, or tomorrow morning. I live in Lincoln, NE, and the area in question is along Hwy 2, about a mile east of where it meets with Hwy 77. The nearest permanent water is roughly 3/4 mile away, at Salt Creek.
The swarm wasn’t exactly… swarming… though. I’ve never seen such a large group of dragonflies, but except that I seemingly disturbed their repose in my passing, they were not moving. They were perched by the dozens on each of a line of small trees along the sidewalk. As I passed each tree, the insects took wing, and flew in swooping circles around me and their roost until settling again. The movement was similar to wasps circling a nest, such that I actually thought I was surrounded by wasps at first.
The individuals all looked the same from what I could see. Since I was late for work, I couldn’t attempt to get up close and personal with them, but the few I saw in any great detail were perhaps 2″ long from tip to tail and of a pale green color, with fairly fat bodies with, perhaps, a bit of brown? I did not notice whether the wings were patterned. I hope to get a better look, or even a picture, if they are still there on my walk home.
As to weather: Yesterday afternoon the high was 94F, dropping down to around 70F in the late evening, and staying within the range of 65F to 75F throughout the night. A thundershower showed up around 8:30 and there was rain on and off throughout the night. On my walk this morning, the temperature was right at 68F. It showered again shortly after I arrived at work, but now, at 2:00pm, it is sunny and beginning to both warm and dry. I do hope that won’t alter the likelyhood of the darlings still being where I can observe them.
Had a dragonfly swarm on the evening of 8/31/10 form around 5.30pm until sundown at around 8.45pm. It was in NE Minneapolis and they seemed to be heading south. It was in a residential area.
Last night at around 8:30 pm (8/31/10) We had a swarm over our yard. I would say there was at least fifty swooping and swirling around our heads. I could see that there were many more down our street and across the road over our neighbors homes. They came slowly in and then about 20 minutes later they started to leave a little at a time. We are in the UP of MI.
They’re swarming by the thousands here in Chicago….I’m several miles from the lake. Saw a few yesterday 8/31/10, and today 9/1/10 there are literally dragonflies everywhere in the park across the street from me. The park is normally home to flocks of gulls and pigeons, but they are NOWHERE to be found today….I’m assuming they’ve been spooked by the horde of fabulous dragonflies.
They are mostly zooming around a couple of feet above the grass in the park, but many are also hovering above tree and roof level. I’ve lived here almost 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. We are in Lincoln Square, zip code 60625 if that helps your research. I’ll let you know when they’ve moved on….meanwhile, I’m goin’ back outside to enjoy one of my favorite creatures blasting through the air like sentient helicopters.
Plattsmouth, Nebraska-Large swarm over a section of our property, going on several hours now. Seem to be dipping, diving and doing figure eights. Hundreds of them. Has been hotter here, in the 90’s, but rained last night and a bit cooler today, expecting 70’s tomorrow. Large, various colors. Beautiful and strange at the same time.
I can report three swarms (seem to be static from your descriptions) from today, 9/1/10. All in Omaha, NE. One near 123rd and Pacific Streets in 68154, one near 140th and Center Streets in 68144, and one near Mayfair Dr. and Pine Street in 68144. The swarm at 123 + Pacific was flying over the grass of a front yard, between 4 and 20 feet off the ground, in circles and figure eights. At least 20 dragonflies, but not in the hundreds. The swarm near 140 + Center was flying over a parking lot with small grassy areas here and there, flying in figure eights, between 2 and 6 feet off the ground. There only seemed to be about 6 of these guys. The one near Mayfair and Pine was flying above grassy lawns, much higher than the other swarms – at least 15 feet off the ground and higher. Mostly circles, some figure eights. At least 12 dragonflies, possibly 20 in this group. All three swarms were made up of big dragonflies, about 3″ or possibly more, some were thin and some were fatter near the head, tapering off to a long thin tail. They all seemed to be bluish black. I tried to get photos, but they were moving way too fast for my shutter! We had a dramatic thunderstorm last night after a lot of hot days, and it is in the low 80s for temperature now. These swarms were all between 7 and 8 pm central.
I was pretty amazed to find your site – my mom called me and told me about the giant bugs flying in a swarm over her front yard, and at the time, I had just encountered a similar swarm and was heading toward another. We both thought they were dragonflies, but they were very big, and flying so fast! I got home and googled “dragonfly swa” and google filled in the rest of swarm and took me right to this page! Amazing how common this is, when neither of us had noticed such a thing before today!
I saw a swarm of dragonflies this evening (about 6:30) over my backyard deck. I live in Webster City, Iowa. There was a sparrow at the feeder who kept looking up in what seemed to be amazement. I, too, was amazed–first time I’d seen this phenomenon. We have had a prolonged dry spell which was broken yesterday by some rain.
Another report in Omaha, Nebraska. 6PM in the evening of 9/1/10. one block north of 150th & Q St in the Millard area. Several hundred to a thousand or more swarming, but at 6′ to 50′ ranges covering at least one block.
Recent weather included storm with 1+” of rain passing through during hte prior night and some rain during the day, cooling temps 10+ degrees from prior week.
There are a number of moths present (also a recent development) that I assumed the dragonflies were there to feast on. I have not seen this before in this location and have been here 10 years.
We saw a swarm tonight in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. We’re into day 4 or 5 of a heat wave with temperatures around 30C and high humidity. The swam was spotted around 6:30pm ET and consisted of about 20-30 dragonflies doing figure 8’s about 20ft off the ground (we back onto a ravine).
I live in warrenton Oregon, at cullaby lake, it is September 2nd, 2010, at 6:24pm and currently and for the last 30 minutes there are thousands of dragonflies flying over my house from north to southeast. It’s an amazing sight to see, if it wasn’t for your webpage I would still be a little scared. I have never seen such a sight, it’s amazing.
I was amazed to see a swarm of dragonflys right in my own neighborhood (60th and Xerxes Avenue in Brooklyn Center, MN) August 31 as I was driving home from work about 6:00 pm. It has been raining quite a bit all summer long and our lawns and foliage are very lush and green. From your description, it appears to have been a static swarm totaling in the hundreds. They were flying in circles and figure eights appr. 10-20 feet off the ground and stayed for a while right in my own yard as I am the last house on a dead end street. My son and I watched them from our living room window. They did appear to be a varying colors and sizes—some blackish in color, and others a lighter green. I can’t ever recall ever seeing something like this before and I, like another of your contributors, Googled Dragonfly Swarm and came to this sight. Thanks for the interesting information!
I live in Yakima Washington which is a desert area. My co-worker that also lives in my same housing developement was telling me about the most incredible sight she had ever seen which was a swarm of dragonflies. It was about 7:30ish and the swarm was traveling down high above the sidewalk that paralells a very busy residential street. My friend said it looked like thousands and thousands and the formation covered an enonormus area and traveled in a straight line pattern. I am so jealous that I didn’t get to see it. I have lived in this neighborhood 15 years and have never even seen one!!!
Hi! I live in Cedarburg WI, and wrote you in August. I wrote you about the first night the dragonfllies visited my front and back yards and no one elses. There were hundreds or more of them. I did not write about the next night when the same crew revisited , and I could actually see them catching bugs (mosquitoes) in the front yard because the sunlight was just right.
Now, on 9/1/10 some of my friends came back to say goodbye and thanks for the meal. This time there were only 50 to 100 of them, They came about 5:30 PM and stayed about 20 minutes. My question is, where do they go from here? Do they live thru the winter, or do they lay their eggs and die? I live about a mile or less from Cedar Creek, an offshoot of the Milwaukee River. I really enjoy your site. Thanks for responding. Linda Hardy
They are likely going to move south for the winter, though this depends on which species you’re seeing and whether it’s a migratory species. Some species just die before the winter hits (dragonflies have a pretty short life span as adults – only a few months), overwinter either as eggs or as nymphs in the water, and will emerge as adults next summer. Judging from the recent activity in your area, it sounds like a lot of the dragonflies are starting to migrate south, so you might see quite a few more in the next few weeks!
As of yesterday, 9/2/10, the dragonflies have left my area of Chicago. Friends nearby are saying they have no sightings. The birds are back…..not as many gulls, but that’s not unusual….they come and go. We had a lot of last night, and I was hoping the resulting ‘ponds’ that temporarily consume large sections of the park might bring them back. It’s also at least 20 degrees cooler and the winds are very high, so that might have driven them off. I just hope they’re migrating in a big ol’ healthy swarm and eating well.
Sept 4, 2010
I saw my first dragonfly swarm about 10 years ago. It was in the fall in the coastal community of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Literally thousands of huge dragonflys going from south to north down main street.
Now, my kids have recently spotted a swarm on September 3, 2010. Thousands of DF coming off the ocean headed east. This was off the North Oregon Coast- Warrenton. Weather was sunny and beautiful. We had had a storm a few days prior.
What a treat to see! Hope this helps!
anadarko, oklahoma. we have seen several swarms near our house. the latest is this evening about 7-8pm. the started out flying low to the ground, about 6″, and now they are just above our rooftop. what causes this? mating season?
We live in northern Indiana (Wawaka) on Diamond Lake. There was a HUGE static swarm of dragonflies in our side yard this evening (9/6). This would be on the northeast corner of the lake and was between a pine tree woods and the actual house. We first noticed them around 6:30PM and they are still there at 8:15PM (almost nightfall now). Most of them were flying 1-25 feet off the ground, although we also witnessed quite a few of them up near the tops of the trees that surround the yard. All of the dragonflies we saw were the big ones with the green heads and blue bodies/tails. We had 2.10″ of rain on Thursday, which was the first precipitation we’ve had here for over 3 weeks. The weather has also gotten much cooler since the rain. It was only 65 degrees on Saturday! Today was 80 degrees with a slight wind from the lake. My son found an injured dragonfly near the road that we put on the picnic table. We were able to observe it and got to see it opening and closing it’s mouth. What a neat moment to share with my son! Our neighbors just called and said that there is another swarm west of us about 1/4 mile!
I have lived in Pensacola, Florida for 50 years and have never seen more than 2-3 a year. They have been swarming here for about 6 weeks. We have approximately 20 in our yard at a time and they are all randomly darting around.
I have never seen anything like this before!! And I have lived in this area most of my life….Tonight is the second time within 3 weeks that we have seen them…We live in a rural field with a pond next to us. Cullman County Alabama..Town of Mt. Zion….or closer would be Crane Hill.
The dragonflies were flying over the grass areas all around my house at dusk and about 15 feet from the ground.
We live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and have had swarms of dragonflies in our yard for over a week. The first few days it seemed like there were 20 or so, but today there are well over 50. We have a pool in the backyard and live about a mile from the Cedar River. It’s been in the 70’s here the last several days. They fly pretty low to the ground and my family is fascinated with them. My kids don’t want them to leave!
I went out in my front yard this evening and there were 20 or so large dragonflies swarming 1 to 20 feet off the ground. I was 7:00 pm and they swarmed for about 20 minues. The sun was shining but we had a rain about 4:00 pm and a storm is coming in from the west. They were only over our house I looked at the neighbors yards and they were not there, nor were they in the backyard. We live in eastern Independence, Missouri about 2 miles west of the “little Blue River and 5 miles south of the Missouri River. My wife said we must be blessed.
At 5 p.m. this afternoon, 9/10/2010, I took Bear-Dog out for his afternoon walk. When we got back to our house in a sub-division in Franklin, Tennessee, our back-yard was swarming with thousands…I mean, THOUSANDS…of dragonflies. The swarm lasted for around an hour or so and was contained to our backyard alone…I walked around the house and up the street a bit just to check it out. Suddenly, they were gone. We’d had a brief thunderstorm about an hour before and the temp was around 80 degrees. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I have video, too.
My husband and I witnessed what we decided was a dragonfly swarm over the grassy lot behind our house. There was about forty or fifty dragonflies in the swarm.
It was almost dark when we noticed them flying in figure-eight patterns from about one to twenty or thirty feet from the ground.
They never seemed to lite anywhere. They were not afraid of us nor did they make any attempt to come near us.
It was about eight p.m.and getting dark rapidly so we were unable to see what color they were.
We have had very hot weather, but lately it cooled down somewhat and we’ve had rain. It rained this morning but this afternoon it was hot and sunny. We’ve never seen dragonflies behave in this manner before. .
We live in southwest Missouri, close to the MO/Kansas border.
Today I was driving home from Central Illinois and cut over on 36 to get to 63/41 north. We took a cut off road 71 to get to 63 and all of a sudden we were being swarmed. Since we were driving and they were moving so fast we couldn’t tell right away what they were but when we stopped we could see they were Green Dragonflies. There were at least 10s of thousands of them all heading in a southern direction. We finally saw the last one when we hit Attica. We hope this helps with your research. This was totally fascinating. I am a biology and envrionmental science teacher and I have never seen this before. Thanks for you information.
BTW, this happened at about 6 pm Central time. Today was very rainy in the morning and sunny and cool the rest of the day. We have been having very hot dry weather here and recently cooled this week. I am guessing this is a migratory swarm as they were all going south. Do you know where they go? Is there a place they hang out like the monarchs do?
We still don’t know where the dragonflies end up, but it looks unlikely that they’re all headed for one spot like the monarchs do. They either end up along the southern coast, or they cross the Gulf and head into Central America or Mexico. If you want more information on it, I did a couple of posts on scientific papers about the migratory swarms. They can be found here:
Best wishes for your teaching! I adore teaching, so I love hearing from teachers.
i noticed a swarm of them in my yard and the adjoining corn field. temp is 80. i live in franklin, indiana, aproximately 20 miles south of indianapolis. time is 6:00 pm. yesterday was first measurable rain in about one month.
9/12/12 about 7pm, Clark Co. IL. Have had a very hot summer and has been very dry the last several weeks, however the last week we have had a wonderful cool down with highs in the upper 70’s and very cool nights. 2 days ago we finally got a considerable amount of rain.
12 Sep 2010, 7:10 pm CDT. Ardmore, OK
Large swarm just passed over our house from the NW heading SE. Large dragonflies about 15-20 feet in the air. Weather conditions – hot (90 degrees) and humid. Rain approaching from the W but nothing unusual or severe. It was the first time I have seen anything like this. Beautiful but unusal site.
saw a static swarm in our backyard today (9/12/10). Middle of the day, about 80 degrees, sunny. we live in a St. Louis MO suburb. Not real close to a body of water, other than a very small backyard creek. Probably 100 or so total…looks like they were feeding on small insects that were also swarming. Was rainy the previous 2-3 days. Have never seen anything like this before…and have been at this same house for 25+ years. Also, many more toads this summer than i have ever seen. Used to be that I’d see just a few toads all summer. but now I see them all the time in the yard. Also, several flattened by cars on the street and driveway, which is unusual as well. Has anyone else been reporting more toads in the midwest this year?
I’ve seen quite a few dragonfly swarms in recent years up in Northern Minnesota. Sorry I don’t have exact dates for you. Most of them have been along long stretches of roads though. I will pay more attention from now on. My most memorable one was from this year. It was early summer (a friend had just seen a dragonfly emerge from its case a couple days prior- I don’t know what species). It was early morning somewhere between 6-8am. Clear skies… not sure of temperature or weather in the days beforehand. I was traveling on a highway that goes right up against a lake for a few hundred feet. There were so many dragonflies that I slowed way down so I wouldn’t hit them all. I’m not sure of species composition. I thought it had to do with emergence since it was next to a lake and what my fiend had seen a few days prior. Before, I had only seen swarms towards the end of the summer and figured it had to do with migration. Very cool though.
Last night on 9-12-10., putnam county, indiana., our 10 acre property in the wooded area was totally invaded by these swarms of dragonflies, we could walk rite out into the middle of them trying to catch a picture,but their movement was so rapid the camera can’t film them, was amazing, they stayed in a sunny area from 5pm til 7pm we were fascinated with them, when the trees all shaded over, they left. Our weather these last 2 months have been extremely hot and dry, not normal for Indiana at all, we had a small rain in the last 3 days ??. Never seen anything like this in our 72 yrs. of life, and 35 yrs. living in heavily wooded area in rural Indiana.
i live in alsip il on 131st and cicero. there was a swarm of dragonflies flying over our condo complex lawn id say in the area of a few hundred. its hot about 82 according to our my phone. we also are literally right next to the cal sag river if that helps.
Nashville, Indiana about 6:00 p.m. Huge swarm of dragonflies covered our entire field. About 5 acres. Has been a very dry summer in Indiana although we did have rain 2 days ago. We noticed them when we came from town and I just went over there and they are every where. It is about 85 here today, sunny.
Spring bay, IL. 20-50 circling in the yard. Saw a few flying on top of each other… my friend says this is mating.? We live on the Illinois river.
September 13, 2010
In the city of Arcola, Illinois
# species ?
4-5 cm’s in length
Dry fall like weather
I just had a large amount swarming my backyard. They flew low to the ground around a couple of feet above the ground. The weather has been really dry for several weeks. It is in mid 80’s and no rain approaching. I live in IN in a small rural town not near any water. the bugs were flying too fast to see what color but they were quite large in size
9/13/2010 Oak Forest IL, (South Suburb of Chicago) I noticed them around 6:00 PM Central time. My dog and I were in the backyard and they were everywhere, it was amazing!! The dog was overwelmed because he loves to chase birds and he couldn’t keep up with them and they were so quick. They were as far as we could see as high as your eyes could see and even a few feet from the ground. They moved so fast I could not tell the color or pattern they were flying…but it did look as if they eventually moved toward the south as they disappeared. It went on for at least an hour. The nice thing about it was the mosquitos didn’t bother us at all, as I think they were prey. It was in the 80’s today and yesterday, last rain was two days ago in the AM. It was so interesting to watch.
Today from about 6-7 there were hundreds swarming my front and back yards. I live in Tinley Park, Illinois. They were flying from 3 ft to at least 30 feet off the ground 72 degrees here..not humid.
Was just overthrown by a massive swarm of migratory dragonflies at a gas station near my house here in Pensacola. Thousands and thousands!! I was pumping gas and all of a sudden the sky turned black and there were dragonflies EVERYWHERE. Might be nice from a distance but not when they are flying into you.
I should add that this happened at about 7:00pm at dusk. They were flying north and definitely knew what direction they were headed – no matter what they ran into to get there.
I live in a small town in central illinois. I took my daughter out for soccer pictures tonight at the local park, granted there is a lagoon there, but there had to have been millions of dragon flies over the soccer field. Then when I came home getting out of my car to come in was like dodging bullets only I was dodging dragonflies. There had to be thousands upon thousands of them in just my yard. I of course got curious and got online. Thank you for your help. September 13th 2010…
I am watching a dragonfly swarm right now from my window. It’s Sept. 14 and 7.29pm. They have been out there for at least an hour. (When we noticed them). We are near Seymour, IN in the southern half of Indiana. There must be hundreds and they are large but they are flying so fast we can’t tell what kind they are! They are flying right behind the house between a fallen tree and our woods. We have a pond about 150 ft away and there are NONE over there. I have never seen this before. The weather has been hot and dry for weeks, however we had a rain over this weekend. The first one in quite a while. I tryed to film the dragonflies on my little camera but it is so hard to see them because they are so fast. It has been very interesting to watch.
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010…I live in Bloomington, Indiana, and happened to be on the north side of town at a small park. It’s a very small frisbee golf park of about 2 or 3 acres. One side of the park is tree-lined, and there is an area of trees near a small gravel parking lot.
As I pulled in to park I noticed a large amount of dragonflies – this was about 6:10 pm . I was quite fascinated, and the longer I looked, I came to realize there were possibly a few thousand – maybe more! I’m guessing this was a “static” swarm, as the dragonflies kept to an area of about 150 feet long and approximately 50 feet wide.
The grassy area included open space as well as trees (I forgot to look and see what kind of trees they were). The ground sloped down a bit where the trees were, and the dragonflies were flying in all directions – from just above the grass all the way up and a few feet past the tree-tops ( I’d say about 75 feet up). This was the same for the open space as well – they kept to their boundaries.
It was a bit darker under the trees, which made it difficult to see colors and markings. The dragonflies appeared to be a drab earthy green-grey color in the shade, and a pea green color with some “wheat” coloring near their sides ?? It was hard to tell as they would whip by so fast! I stood at their center and it sounded as if thousands of tiny engines were flying by. They all seemed to be about the size of a hummingbird. Standing at their center reminded me of snorkeling in a school of fish – they are all around you, but are never closer than a few inches from any part of your body – and they stay exactly the same lenth away from every part of your body no matter your movements (it’s as if you are in a bubble!)
I could only stay about 15 minutes, but planned to go back over after dinner . When I got home I told my husband about it, he went by at 7:30 pm but the were nowhere to be found.
I love getting reports like yours! People who stand out in the middle of swarms always describe the most magical sounding experiences and their reports are so very fun to read. I stood in the center of the swarm I saw and I thought it was one of the best experiences of my life. It makes me so happy that other people are getting to experience the same sense of awe and joy I felt in the swarms they see. Thanks for sending in your report!
September 14, 2010 I saw hundreds and hundreds of dragonflys on our beach on Drummond Island, MI on the south side of the island on Lake Huron Bay. It was around 12:30 in the afternoon and I sat there for around 45 minutes. They were still there when I left. They were flying in a figure 8 about 10 – 20 feet off the rocks and vegetation on the shore.. They appeared to be brown and blue/green in color and flying around with them were maybe 20 monarch butteries and there seemed to be a lot of flies as well. It was unbelievable to watch them, the were 2-3 inches in length. There were so many that it was easy to see them as far and the eye could see when I looked down both directions on the beach. Last July, I was sitting on my front porch and there were about 20-30 flying above the grass. We are one of the few houses in this areas that has a grass lawn, I’m not sure if that was what attracted them. Every summer in late July and August we have hundred of crickets that fly around on our beach. I really enjoyed reading all the comments and was pleased to find your site when I decided to go online to find out why we are having swarms of dragonflies this summer. Looking forward to your report in October.
Sept. 14th from about 5pm until 8 pm huge swarms of what seemed to be all the species. These were not the delicate kind seen over water but had bodies as thick as cicadas with double sets of wings. There were the most above the one story houses and some flew very low to the ground for brief periods thenback up again. Mostly black in body color with the typical slimming of the body at the rear. We live in Olney, IL…SE area of the state. We are in town but have a small human population. Earlier this summer we had excessive rainfall but the last two weeks it has been very dry. Most of august had record high temps. I hope this helps. Being a lover of nature I had to leave my thoughts.
Thank you for your site
Tuesday 9-14-10…I forgot to mention in my post earlier this evening, that it has been very dry & quite hot here (Bloomington, IN) this summer. September has brought some cooler weather in the 70’s through the upper 80’s. Saturday (Sept. 11th) we had our first “big” rain since Independance Day. It started about 3 AM, with a few hour’s worth of down-pour, and finally ended about noon that same day. It hasn’t rained since. The weather has been partly cloudy, and highs in the 80’s since Saturday afternoon until today (9-14-10) when I saw the dragonflies.
There was a large dragonfly swarm (I’d say 100-200) in my yard yesterday evening, 9/13/2010. I noticed them at about 6:30. We live in central Illinois, across the river from Peoria, in a rural area where the houses are far apart. It was a clear day, warm and humid, without much breeze. The dragonflies were swooping around in the yard between our house and the next house up the road — it’s about a half-acre of grass, basically flat, with a few evergreens growing here and there. Their flight patterns were graceful and fluid. They flew at all different heights, from right down by the grass to far above my head. I couldn’t really tell colors; some looked dark, while others caught the sundown light and looked golden. I walked right into the middle of the swarm and just stood there, waiting to see what they’d do. They ignored me and went about their business (whatever it was), sailing over and around me as though I were a tree. I took a few pictures, which I’d be happy to send you if you’re interested.
I have seen a large swarm 100+ for last 2 days around my house in Noble Illinois.September 13-14th 2010 The weather has been about 90degree days and 60’s at night.Very dry conditions, and farmers are starting to harvest corn and beans.Have been seeing them in the late evening just before dark.6:00pm-7:30 pm They are ust circling around.This is the first time I have ever seen a draginfly swarm. I had noticed all summer that I had been seeing more of them than I ever had as I do not live near any bodys of water.
On 9/14/10, 5:30 PM CST, my husband and I drove north out of Atwood, IL and drove into a swarm of dragonflys approx. 1/2 mile north of town. We drove 1 mile west and 6 miles north and there were thousands of dragonflys flying over corn and soybean fields the entire way. When we got home they were swarming our yard (we live on a farm). I went back outside at around 7:00 PM and all the dragonflys were gone. They did not seem to be flying in any single direction, just darting around over the fields and yard. There were all colors. There are no large bodies of water around us but there are drainage ditches criss-crossing the area. Most of these are fairly dry right now with only puddles in the bottom of them. There is a front moving through the area and we did get a very light mist earlier in the day and more rain is expected in the next couple of days. I did notice a swarm of dragonflys in our yard a week or so ago, again early evening and a friend mentioned that she noticed thousands of dragonflys in her yard in Tolono, IL the evening of 9/13/10. I have to say, it’s a very wonderous sight.
Same goes for Carlinville, Illinois last evening. We’re between St. Louis, Mo. and Springfield Illinois. Six pm, Not every yard had them, but driving down the street, noticed static swarms here and there. Noticed the birds way up there also.
Noticed a cat laying down in a neighbors yard, grinning bigger than I was.
September 15 2010, 6:45P.M. sighted about 15 or more dragonflies flying in a figure 8 formation beside my house. I thought they were eating of perhaps mating. This is the first time in my life I have seen them in a swarm.
There are hundreds of dragonflies swarming in our backyard and surrounding neighbor’s yards tonight, and have done this for the last three nights at least. They are just flying around in circles, and appear to be feeding maybe. I tried to catch one but it is harder than it looks! They are very large…maybe 3 to 4 inches in length, and appear to be all the same species. Curiously, my house isn’t near water at all! There is a small creek maybe 70 yards away but no pond within 1/2 of a mile. In fact, our backyard was dug up this week in order to install a new septic. There isn’t even much grass! They actually appear to prefer flying over our gravel driveway! I am in Brazil, Indiana, and my sister said they are experiencing this phenomena in Terre Haute also, which is about 12 miles away.
We had a swarm last night in our yard. We have a 2 1/2 acre hobby farm. Our farm is surrounded by cornfields that they have been harvesting all week. We noticed the swarm about 6:30 pm. There were 100’s of them, flying just above the grass to about ten feet high. It was a beautiful clear evening around 70 to 75 degrees, no wind. I stood out with them they never ran into me but they did occasoinally run into each other. I don’t know species but most of them were a dark blue or black. It was amazing I have never seen anything like it and after about 20 minutes they were gone. The date was 9-14-10. I hope this helps.
We have a swam in our backyard now in San Antonio, Texas near Olmos Basin Park on 9/16/10.
There are roughly a couple hundred flying in our backyard over our large vegetable garden. There are none in our front yard. They are flying 2-8 feet off the ground. The weather has been hot, and dry for about 6 weeks until it flooded and rained for about 4 days. Seems to be one species with a thick body.
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We just had a swarm in our backyard. We live in Maryville, TN. There were probably about a thousand of them – very large and moving in mostly figure 8 patterns. It took us a few minutes to determine that they were dragonflies. They were almost the size of a small hummingbird. We first noticed them over the pool, flying about 1-15 ft over the ground. We soon realized they were in the yard (about 3 acres) as well, it was an amazing sight. They were moving too quickly to get a good idea of color. It was about 7 p.m. and 82 degrees. We had a storm last night and this has been the hottest summer on record with over 60 days at 90 degrees or better.
I saw a swarm of dragon flies in my yard September 19th, 2010 in Franklin, TN. Weather conditions is pre-fall. 65 degrees. Flying in circles.
12 September, my baby boy and I were wandering around Port Washington, WI and we passed through swarm after swarm of large green dragons. Each swarm had easily 500 to 1000 individuals, all flying close to the ground over lawns or parks. The weather had been warm, but certainly not hot; however, we had the wettest summer in memory and as a result a bumper crop of mosquitoes and gnats etc. It was something to experience, walking through the swarms, watching the dragons fly everywhere around us, flying up to see what we were, and none even coming close to hitting us. What fliers.
I live in Jefferson City, Missouri. I left my home this afternoon, September 18, 2010 at 2 p.m. to find a swarm of dragonflies over my house and yard. They were flying anywhere from 1 foot to 20 feet over the ground, circling and flying in figure 8’s. There were at least 100 of them and only over my house! As far as I could tell, they were green, quite large 2 or more inches long. Several flew right in front of me at waist and head level! I’d never seen this before and was totally awed. Weather here has been dry and hot in the upper 80’s with no rain in about a week. I wish I had had more time to watch them, but I had to get going. It was an intriguing sight! When I returned home around 7 p.m. they were gone and a thunderstorm blew in around 8 p.m. Hope this helps.
I noticed a static swarm of about 100 or so dragonflies in my yard tonight around 6PM. They stayed for the better part of an hour. I live in Jefferson City, MO on the south end of town. I have been saying I have seen more dragonflies this summer than I ever remember seeing in summers past, but I have never seen anything like what I saw tonight. It was an amazing spectacle to see and watch!! We had some heavy clouds moving in at the time, and storms were forecast. The weather was humid today and in the upper 80’s. I don’t know if this had anything to do with it, but I had just finished filling the 2 birdbaths in my yard when I noticed them starting to swarm. Incredible! I will be watching for them again tomorrow!! Thanks for the blog! It was very helpful and educational. My boys got a lesson on nature on our front porch as we read your website and watched in amazement.
I saw a swarm (20-50) dragonflies in a neighbors yard 1-50 feet off the ground here in Louisville Kentucky. It was dusk and don’t know if multiple species or if they were feeding. Temperature was in the mid to high 80s. It has been very warm ( I heard someone say that Louisville has had the highest temp above average this summer then any other city in US. Anyway we have had no recent storms and this was not close to any water source (there is a creek 10 blocks away) that I’m aware of. Could it be the heat has changed the migratory patterns as you suggested. Maybe they think it is still summer and not time to migrate. Or maybe their food source is changing its migrating pattern.
The dragonfly swarm returned today 9/20/10 in a smaller number. I first spotted them around 1:35 p.m. in the afternoon arriving home. I live in Jefferson City, Missouri and today the weather is quite hot, 90 degrees. We’ve had two days of thunderstorms and rain. Today the swarm numbered around 75 dragonflies and this time I could see some were blue as well as the green. Same size, large about 2″ or longer, flying in figure 8s and circles anywhere from right past my nose to 15′ high. Unlike last time the swarm was partially over my house and partially over my neighbor’s house. I also noticed there were some swallow type birds darting after the dragonflies, probably for a quick lunch.
I live in Edmond, Ok, just outside of Okla City. Right at dusk, on Sept. 21 & 22nd about 7:30pm CST, I walked into the front yard and saw a static swarm of no more than 1000. I’ve never seen anything like it. I couldn’t tell what kind they were because it was just a little to dark. They were right overhead and looked like they were flying in a figure eight. They were only in our yard. We haven’t had rain in about a week but are expecting some tomorrow evening. The current conditions during the flight was 81 degrees and 60% humidity.
The past few years in late summer or early fall I have had a very localized swarm of dragonflies in my backyard. The seem to gather around 5:30-7pm for several days in a row and then disappear. I estimate probably 30-50 individuals flying anywhere from 10-30 feet up. I live in Newtown Square, Pa just west of Philly. I don’t recall the whether conditions in past years. This year it was cooler at the beginning of the week (mid 70’s compared to the 90’s we’ve had most of teh summer). But the swarm arrived two days ago when the temp’s rose into the mid 80’s-90 degrees for the highs. Don’t know if it matters or not, but the portion of the yard the dragonflies were over was open. the rest of my yard is wooded with a small creek. I’m interested to see what info you can find. Hope this helps on your research.
Here in Floyd, VA we saw a dragonfly swarm midweek just as a storm moved in; hundreds of dragonflies, from 10-40 feet above the ground, actually doing figure eights at the height of our chimney! I wonder if they were after the swarms of gnats that we’d seen at various locations around the house during the day….
I live in Eastern TN, Sevierville to be exact. I have been trying to find out if this is normal. SO I came across your blogpost.
For over a week now every night at about 6Pm – 7PM they come. At first there wre thousands it seemed. Then there were less. For a while it remained there were probably in the hundreds. They are still hanging around. And they are only in one spot of my yard. Hundreds of them zipping around. And when they get close enough I can hear their wings like faint playing cards in the spokes of a childs bike. They are not bothered by myself or my dog. And now my dog is use to them and not bothered by them either.
I find it beautiful and interesting.
I have tried to get a picture but do not have a good zoom lens.
I never figured dragons swarmed. I went out back of the house at about 6:30 PM tonight (Tuesday, 27 Sept) and there was an incredible swarm of drangonflies over the back lawn. Must have been thousands. About 3 inches, and dark color. I also noted we had an incredible swarm of gnats going on, too. Not sure this is significant, but the back lawn is dead, we stopped watering a couple of years ago because of the high cost of water. Lived here 43 years and never saw more than the occasional d-fly. I live in Novato, CA., about 30 miles north of San Francisco. We had a VERY unseasonably cool summer, 80’s since June, when it is usually often 90’s and 100’s from late June thru mid Sept. The teperature climbed to high 90’s to low 100’s the past few days. The closest body of water is Stafford Lake, about three miles west. I finally sat down and just watched. Absolutely amazing. After about half an hour, they suddenly dispersed, and I noticed they mostly flew north. I’m hoping a few hang around tomorrow.
I found your webside while searching “Dragonflies swarming”. I hope my imput is helpful! Keep up the great work D-woman!!!
We are located in Navarre Florida, and have been seeing dragon flies through the month of Sept. This is not unusual for this area, we have many wetlands and insects, but this year has been much more active, with hundreds of dragon flies showing off with flying stunts, hopefully taking their toll on the biting bug population!! The significant difference inspired the on-line search, to find this very informative site, Thanks!
For the last couple of weeks have been seeing a static swarm. Don’t know type. They seem to be feeding on small gnats most of the day and into the evening. Perhaps there are 150. They occupy a space in my yard and around a mimosa tree that’s in a relatively damp area. No rain here recently. They are flying from 10 to 50 feet high.
I’m located in southern middle Tn near Waynesboro
I witnessed very large swarm of dragonflies this evening about 6:30 PM, somewhat inland not really near the water. My son’s had told me they witnessed thousands at their home near the water (Garcon Point). Pensacola, Florida 10/2/10
On September 14, 2010, we were on vacation in Pensacola, Florida, and were staying on Perdido Bay. There were a couple of docks we could use, and about 6pm, I was sitting on one waiting for the sunset, when I noticed several dragonflies. As the evening progressed, we watched the sunset from the docks, taking pictures of the thousands of dragonflies that flew all around us, the only contact was when one barely brushed against my hair. It was the most magical thing, for almost two hours we stayed on the docks, just watching them keep coming. They were flying north over the bay, all going in the same direction. They were at all levels, up near tree tops, flying right by us as we stood on the docks. I don’t know what type they were, we were so caught up in being in the midst of them, thousands of them. My daughter who lives there says she still sees some swarms of them this year. The night we saw it, it had not rained for three days, temperature was in the upper 80s to mid 90s during the day. I hope to get to see this again someday.
Here where we live in Galesburg, IL. I was mowing the yar on a riding mower this summer when it was hot and encountered a swarm that flew in a circular pattern around me. This was startling, but fascinating also, I do not recollect this happening any other time in my 50 years.
We had a really hot summer, then lots of rain. Insects were abundant, Our vegetable Garden din’t do well at all this summer. The local rabbits ate almost everything. Or it just didn’t do well.
I am in Fernandina Beach, Florida and saw a swarm outside the third floor balcony of the condo I’m visiting. The date was October 19 in the afternoon. The dragonflies were swarming in circles and figure-8s. There weren’t a huge amount, but enough to call it a swarm. We are located on the northern part of the beach, right on the water. The weather has been sunny and in the 80s all week, with no rain.
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:
We have had a swarm of 100-200 dragonflys over our yard for several days. So many that the kids cant go outside to play. Im going to try to post pictures. They do this each year here for the past 2 years in the same place. Wierd to see I am from Arizona and we have nothing like this. Hope they dont stay much longer it takes away from the fun of summer swimming and playtime.
For several years we have noticed static swarms of dragonflies, normally in late summer and also in conjunction with the emegence of winged ants. This year, however, I have become interested in dragonflies because we have had goodly numbers (not swarms) throughout the summer (blistering hot here in the Ozarks of N.W. Arkansas after an extremely wet spring), critters which seemed to focus on our very large garden and which I am convinced were helping control damaging insects. (Does anyone know if they feed on striped cucumber beetles; we had some bad outbreaks, and the dragonflies, especially Blue Dasher males were constantly flying back and forth over the melon plants, even diving between leaves. Regettably, despite what I read about their feeding capacity, I can never seem to actually see them catch an insect with their legs and then feed). For the last several weeks, there have been swarms of increasing size flying nightly. (Tonight I saw some winged ants but not earlier.) They seem to be of mixed species, including some I have never keyed out (red and yellow). I imagine that the large congregations are responding to some feeding pheremone, but that is a pure guess. Else how could several hunderd show up in an area patrolled by only 20-30 on average (a quarter acre.) Night by night, the swarms seem to be getting bigger.
There are hundreds of dragonflies swarming in my yard right now and was curious to why such a phenomenon has occurred and found this page. Unfortunately, there isn’t an official answer as of yet but there appears to be a storm approaching and it has been relatively warm the past couple of days. I live in southern Chicago and I do have a small garden in my yard. They do not appear to be feeding on anything nor going in any specific direction, just patterns. Hope that this information proves to be sufficient and helpful. Thanks.
On August 25 6:00pm in Kankakee county IL. I drove from Bradley IL. to St. Anne IL. country roads at every cornfield there where thousands of dragonflys swarming. Not one of them hit my car or flew in my window, that amazed me!
The drangon flys where very large, at first I thought they where humming birds.
My husband and I and our two kids just bought a house in July and so far I have seen two Dragon fly swarms. My daughter loves them and both times this happend she ran around the yard and the beautiful flys almost looked as though they were playing with her they flew beside her and almost landing on her head at times. i have never seen anything like this before, but it does not bother me, I like to think of them as good company.
We just saw one today. We saw our first last year also around Labor Day.
It’s was magical!
Static swarm here in my front yard by a pond Indianapoils Indiana
On August 26th, 2011 there was a swarm of dragonflies in Ossipee, NH. The dragonflies were very large, about 3.5-4 inches long.
Huge dragonfly swarm over hay field in front of my house in Black Mountain, NC. They are very large and have been active most of the evening. Beautiful and intriguing sight!
A static swarm in winchester and also richmond indiana since sunday 9/10/11
From Marietta, Ohio there was a swarm of dragonflies more than 100 in my neighbors yard and about the same amount in the church yard next door. i have never seen anything like it before . i most likely wouldnt have noticed but my kids came in and got me so i could see.
Thousands and thousands swarming as we speak in our backyard (overlooking) an old golf course. We are in Southwest MO, 5 miles south of Joplin, Mo. We have never seen anything like this! We’ve been watching them for about thirty minutes – they seems to be hovering around rather than moving through. Funny – 2 of our “yard” doves are rather taken by the whole pageant as well, they have positioned themselves on the edge of the field, front row! Any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks! I added your sighting to my database.
Right now, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, a swarm is above our yard, house, flying about even with our upper porch….thrilling! At first, I thought they were hummingbirds. We have had, as you reported, a long dry spell,2 mo or so, followed by rain the past 4 days. It’s not raining right now. We are in Biltmore Forest, a small town surrounded by Asheville, NC. Thanks for doing this…
Glad you are enjoying your swarm! They’re really impressive, aren’t they?
We live in Beach Isle Ocean, NC and we were outside tonight at 5:50 and hundreds where coming out from over the pond behind our house ; over our roof. Such a beautiful experience. Where are they coming from and where do the go at night?
The dragonflies have been making their annual migration south recently and there was a lot of activity reported last week. The dragonflies you are seeing are likely migrating dragonflies, the sort of tail end of the migration. Mind if I ask a question though? Were the dragonflies all flying in one direction together (if so, which direction?) or were they mostly flying back and forth over a specific spot? I’m having a hard time determining whether your swarm was a migratory swarm or a static feeding swarm.
Thank you for your reply, they were flying from east to west in great numbers.
Definitely a migratory swarm then. Nice!
I live on a military installation outside st.robert missouri, everyday around 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m the dragonflies come out all over the area, you see them everywhere! At home I like to watch the hundreds of them do the static swarm and we live far from water. The dragonflies that have been swarming all over the area…literally everywhere have been bird size. Lol I notice that the many birds tthat live here all hide once the dragonflies come out, I saw a small bird hide undera car while the dragonsflies did their early evening swarm. I love dragonflies they hold a special meaning to me, so when I get to see the thousands of them I get a fuzzy feeling inside. Never in my life have I seen so many and the people who have lived in this area of missouri have NEVER seen this many dragonflies. Its almost like a plaque of them everyday all at the same time of day. My husband whom is a soldier and works on a manmade pond said yesterday at work there were as he described millions swarming this tiny pond. He said they almost couldn’t work due to how many there were. My neighbours and I wanna know why there are so many this year? Could u please answer that?
It’s hard to say exactly what’s causing any individual swarm, but I do know that Missouri is getting a lot of dragonflies right now! I saw the same thing a few years ago, but then there was little activity last year before another big surge this year. Seeing a swarm is a rather serendipitous experience and you happen to be in an area where they’re forming at the moment. My guess is that something is emerging in large numbers in your area (ants, termites, mosquitoes or other flies, etc) and the dragonflies are taking advantage of the bounty of food. Have you had storms in your area recently? Sometimes you’ll get a big spike in activity when there have been a lot of storms because the wind pushes the dragonflies along with the cell and you’ll end up with a whole lot of them in one place at one time when the storm breaks up.
I am thrilled that the dragonflies give you warm fuzzies! That’s what I like to hear. Hope you continue to enjoy them!
Today is July 18 th 2012… I have never in my life seen as many Dragonflies as I have today. There are hundreds if not thousands all around where I live and all around the city. I live in Red deer Alberta Canada. I checked this website to see if this was a phenonama, as I have ever seen this before. Thanks Donna
Excellent! Thank you so much for sharing. Sounds like a great experience!
I had my reasons for coming to this website, I needed to find a logical explanation. Yesterday I was at the cemetary sitting by my twin sons headstone
(passed 3 years to the day) in Northern California around 1:00 in the afternoon. They had mowed the grass the day before and the grass was slightly damp. My other twin son (His brother) had turned on some music, in fact it was Susan Boyle I dreamed a dream. All of a sudden a swarm of dragonflies circled around us. They appeared almost immediately as the music started and stopped. The temperature outside was 90. I found it to be a heavenly moment but just wondered if instead they were attracted to the music? There was a fair share of birds in the vicinity as well. I will welcome them either way.
I would have been in complete awe if I’d seen that myself – what a wonderful thing to witness. It sounds like a beautiful moment, so I wouldn’t want to take anything away from it by suggesting that there was nothing more to it than hungry insects looking for a meal (how I usually explain dragonfly swarms) because you never know – maybe it did mean something more. Dragonflies are often thought to embody the spirit of departed loved ones and their presence is meant to give you comfort that they are content wherever they are. Perhaps there is something to that thought?
we have hundreds of dragonflies in ozone park ny
Excellent! Hope you’re enjoying it.
We live in northern California. It has been in the 100,s the last weeks with a small bit of rain last night. This evening 8-18-12 me and my husband noticed a swarm in our backyard, probably 30. We had never seen this before. They were flying about 6 ft off the ground. It was very neat.
I’m so glad you enjoyed your swarm! I think they’re amazing things to witness, so it always makes me happy to hear that other people have the same reaction.
I didn’t know there was such a thing as a dragonfly swarm but that was what I must have seen last summer, 2011. There must have been about 20 dragonflies, it looked like a performance, darting and flitting about. I thoroughly enjoyed God’s amazing creation and was hoping to see them again this summer. Do they do return engagements?
They sometimes do, though it depends a lot on where you live. If you live along th east coast or near a large river, you’re more likely to see them every year than elsewhere. It also depends on the conditions in your area. Some areas are better for that sort of thing than others.
I live on Siesta Key Fl and we are one day away from Hurricane Isaac approaching. There are swarms of dragonfly’s everywhere! I took a photo of them last night in the sunset on the beach. I thought you would like to know that your theory may be correct about swarming before an incoming storm.
Thanks for sharing! I am becoming more convinced that hurricanes and other powerful storms are highly influential in swarming behavior, and reports like yours supports that idea nicely. I was actually in Florida the days you saw your swarms and I was seeing them myself, though there have been very few reports from Florida until Isaac approached. Pretty cool that I could see this lovely upswing in activity as the storm approached!
8/26/12 3:52 pm, Plano Tx, we had been to supper and pulling into our drive we were surrounded by a small swarm of 100 to 200 dragonflies. They were only at my house and no where else. It had come a hard rain about an hour ago. I’ll post a link to the video I shot: http://s1117.photobucket.com/albums/k595/Davidnandavid/?action=view¤t=VIDEO0023.mp4
Cool! Thank you so much for sharing your link! That’s an impressive swarm to have in your yard, and a great video of it.
Dragonflies are so cool! I live in the Chicago ‘burbs and our town added a new pod at the end of our block, so we have even more of these guys flying around than usual. Two days ago I was looking out the kitchen window and noticed a large group (about 20) right above a smaller magnolia tree (so not real high in the air) and they were making figure eights like you described. The next day we had tons of rain (flash flood warning). Also this reminded me that back in 1997 or so, though I can’t remember what time of year other than that it wasn’t winter, I was out in the yard and for some reason looked up and noticed all these tiny black specks in the air – way way up, and after watching for a while I realized they were dragonflies! That was pretty awesome and must have been a migration because they were everywhere.
Dragonflies are definitely known to make fall migrations through Chicago – I have evidence of it from my project and a big swarm through there was reported passing the Field Museum in, I believe, the 70’s. I’m sure you saw something like that when you saw the dragonflies way up in the air! From what I can gather from the reports I’ve received, they can fly quite high through there.
I would have posted the second video but in that one, my wife and daughter got dragonflies caught in their hair and went to cussing and screaming. LMAO, have a great day, Dave
Ha ha! I would LOVE to see that one. :)
I was sitting in my yard at dusk last night.August 31 2012..there must have been hundreds of dragon flies in the yard. It was a swarm of them and it lasted at least an hour. I have never seen this before. I called my husband out and we just watched them. We live in Mayville Michigan and I read that maybe the warm weather had something t do with it. I was not sure if it was a mating ritual or a feed frenzie..LOL but it was pretty interesting.
Most likely you saw a feeding frenzy! Fun! Glad you found it interesting.
I live in Fairhope, AL on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Tonight at dusk there was an amzing swarm that I believe was migratory moving up the coastline from south to north towards the delta. There were thousands and flying not too high above my head. It was beautiful and magical.
Fantastic! I am thrilled to get your report becuase it is my first from Alaska. Thank you so much for sharing!
Last year I was in my back yard & a dragonflie hoverd infront of my face for about 35 sec. I would not look at it in the eye as it was never racking?????
Sorry that you didn’t think that was a great experience. It’s not for everyone.
We’ve had a swarm in our backyard (and only our backyard) for several years usually around the end of August. They’re here today and it is such a show for our five cats at attention at the windows!
Any chance that you submitted a report about your swarm? Would love to add your sighting to my collection! You can find the report form here: https://thedragonflywoman.com/dsp/report