Swarm Sunday – 7/15/2012 – 7/21/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoIn the past few years, this has been about the time of year when I started seeing a jump in the swarming activity around the US and started getting more than 3-5 reports a week.  Clearly, something else is happening this year.  Look how many swarms were reported!


Apache Junction, AZ
Bentonville, AR
Rogers, AR
Yellville, AR
North Highlands, CA
Estes Park, CO
Glastonbury, CT
Ledyard, CT
West Haven, CT
Winter Springs, FL
Alton, IL
Cedar Lake, IN
Benton, KY
Ft. Mitchell, KY
Catonsville, MD
Severn, MD (2 reports)
Upper Marlboro, MD
Somerset, MA
Plymouth, MN
Fairdealing, MO
Mansfield, MO
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Hillsborough, NJ
Keyport, NJ
Marlton, NJ
Middletown, NJ
New Providence, NJ
Old Bridge, NJ
Toms River, NJ
Johnsburg, NY
Long Island, NY
Manorville, NY
West Haverstraw, NY
Raleigh, NC
Rocky Mount, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Streetsboro, OH
Westerville, OH
Bethlehem, PA
Boothwyn, PA
Dillsburg, PA
Harleysville, PA
Kutztown, PA
Media, PA (2 reports)
Morrisville, PA
Perkasie, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Radnor, PA
West Chester, PA
Jamestown, RI
Nashville, TN
Houston, TX (3 reports)
Katy, TX
Kingwood, TX
New Braunfels, TX
San Antonio, TX (2 reports)
Spring, TX
Saluda, VA
Tappahannock, VA
Topping, VA
Urbanna, VA
Virginia Beach, VA


Red Deer, AL
Strasbourg, SK

Wow!  That’s a lot of swarms!  Most of the activity is currently centered over the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area and Texas this week, though the southeastern US is still seeing a lot of activity.  Considering that this is the third week of long lists of reports like this too, I think it’s safe to say that the swarming season started earlier this year.

I suspect the early flurry of activity is a result of the mild winter last year.  Unusually warm winters were reported throughout many parts of the US and there were strange weather patterns occurring into the spring.  Many areas didn’t get the typical heavy snows or frosts, even in the northern regions of the continent, and then warmed up earlier in the spring.  A lot of aquatic insects depend on water temperature to let them know that spring has arrived and that it is time to complete their transformation into adults, so warm water in an atypical time of year can result in huge emergences of species before their usual time (sometimes with disastrous consequences).  I think the mild winter and early spring warming both contributed to the early swarming activity we’ve seen this summer, though I’ll have to collect data for a few more seasons to be sure.

Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled by all the dragonflies!  I even got to see another swarm last weekend.  It was made up of 6 different species, including one that isn’t typically reported in swarms (the widow skimmer, Libellula luctuosa).  That brings the total number of swarms I’ve personally seen up to 4 now, and I hope I’ll get to see many more!


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