Dragonflies Invade Chicago: Should we be worried

Dragonflies Invade Chicago: Should we be worried
The Green Darner. Photo: Chicago Tribune, Robert Orr

If you’ve noticed an unusually high number of winged creatures in Chicago recently, you are not alone.

It seems, due to this year’s way wetter than average June–nearly 9 inches of rain–that Chicago is experiencing a bumper crop of dragonflies.

Should we be worried?

According to most sources no. Dragonflies don’t bite or carry disease. Many people find them beautiful. Others not so much. If you are not fan of these darting leggy critters you might want to keep your distance from city parks and beaches so they won’t bug you.

Some of the largest number of reported sightings in Chicago have been in the Belmont Harbor area.  But the dragonflies seem to be everywhere–especially near water where their larvae grow.

dragonfly2

Even Lollapalooza fans reported seeing dragonflies at last weekend’s festival. Other Chicagoland sightings include the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum grounds, Lincoln Park, Chicago docks, beaches and the neighborhoods.

A dragonfly on the lawn at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Photo: Erin Hooley, Chicago Tribune

A dragonfly on the lawn at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Photo: Erin Hooley, Chicago Tribune

After 5 p.m. and continuing through dusk there are an increasing number of dragonflies out scavenging for their dinner.

dragonfly3

A friend who lives just west of Soldier Field posted this picture on Facebook of a dragonfly clinging to the light on her front porch.

Green Daner Dragonfly

Green Daner Dragonfly

The Green Darner is the most common dragonfly in the Chicago area. They average about three inches in size and are harmless. Other dragonflies vary in size from about one inch to six inches.

If you have noticed fewer mosquitoes, midges and gnats this summer, you may want to thank the dragonfly as that is what they prefer to dine on.

Want to learn more about dragonflies, click here.

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