It was another great week for dragonfly swarms! They occurred in the following locations:
Arvada, CO (2 reports)
Centennial, CO (2 reports)
Denver, CO (4 reports)
Englewood, CO (2 reports)
Slater, IA (2 reports)
Glen Carbon, IL
Taylor Mill, KY
Silver Spring, MD
Tracys Landing, MD
Elizabeth City, NC
New York City, NY
West Islip, NY
Liberty Township, OH
Corpus Christi, TX
Houston, TX (4 reports)
La Vergne, TN
Clearly there has been another surge in activity in Colorado. I typically see fewer than 5 swarms in an entire year in Colorado and there were three times that number reported just this week! I think a combination of factors are coming into play in the state. From what I’ve gathered online and from friends, Colorado’s weather has alternated wildly between hot and dry conditions and very wet, stormy conditions. In the last month they’ve seen both horrendous hail storms and record high temperatures. Hot and dry weather often leads to migratory swarms as the dragonflies abandon an area in search of a better place to forage. Stormy wet weather brings dragonflies into an area, then the surge in mosquitoes and other small flies after storms attracts even more dragonflies. Overall, the Colorado weather conditions seem perfectly conducive to seeing a lot of movement of dragonflies from one place to another as well as a lot of static swarms. The dragonflies are crazy active in Colorado! It’s been very fun to watch, if only from afar.
There has been a lot of activity in other places as well. The northern regions of the southern US continue to see activity, as does Texas. There’s been activity in the northeastern coastal states over the last week and Maryland made its first appearance on the swarm map for the first time this year. Iowa, too, made its first showing this week. I’m very interested to see if there is activity in Iowa again this year. There was a massive event there in 2010 that was likely related to flooding in the area. However, that flooding likely also decimated the population of nymphs that would have emerged last year and I expected to see decrease in swarming in Iowa last year. Sure enough, there was far less activity in the area in 2011 than in 2010. If I’m right that a flooding year is followed by a poor swarming year, I should expect to see a level of activity in Iowa that was much greater than last year as the populations should have had time to recover. I’m looking forward to testing this hypothesis over the next few seasons.
Finally, I’ve got some fun news: I’ve officially topped 2000 swarm reports since I started collecting in June 2010! You all have made this project a much greater success than I ever imagined, so thank you all for your participation. Keep sending in those swarm reports too. Let’s see if we can make it 3000 reports before the end of the 2012 season!
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! Thanks!
Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!
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2 thoughts on “Swarm Sunday – 7/8/2012 – 7/14/2012”
Thank GOD that I found this article.. When I excitedly told everyone about the ‘miraculous’ dragonflies, I didn’t get the response that I wanted (since I am 73 yrs old, I’m guessing that whatever they were thinking; I really wouldn’t want to know). I live in Cherry Hill NJ and the sighting was around the last wk. of August. Very interesting..as well as something that almost felt spiritual.
I’m so glad you had a chance to see a swarm! And allow me to give you the response that you had hoped to get: that is super cool! Swarms are not rare, but they are rarely observed, so it’s great that you got to see one because not everyone does. And you’re not the only person who’s told me that the swarm felt almost spiritual either. There’s something magical about these swarms that lead people to try to attach some greater meaning to them. I can totally understand that mentality because I feel the same way! I’ve seen 12 swarms now, and every time I see one it takes my breath away. What an amazing spectacle. Thank you for sharing your story!