SWALLOWS AND DRAGONFLIES

I have just come in from the deck after taking a break from some heavy duty inside work; many breaks enable me to do the hard jobs.  I watched swallows flying while on the deck. They are determined to build their nest on our house in one of the peaks.  They were allowed to do so last year (I do not know if this is the same pair!) but they made such a mess of one window and one side of the house that this year I am allowing my husband to knock down their nests before they get them built.  But they are persistent and I wish there were a way to have them around because they are great insect predators.  I love to watch them buzz the grass like a low flying jet and turn quickly to make a pass and catch the insects they buzzed up out of the grass.

Last week we had clouds of dragonflies around the bluff.  They are also most welcome because dragon flies are predators throughout their life cycles.   As young dragon flies (nymphs) they have an appendage on their tiny heads which act as tiny spears to catch even tinier fish.  As flying adults dragonflies do not sting humans…..as myths have supposed. As larva themselves, they eat other larva…including mosquito and other insect eggs.  As flying adults they eat mosquitos and other flying insects.  Whenever we have a proliferation of dragonflies, we do NOT have mosquitos and I am truly grateful to the strange looking flying, double winged, insects.  The largest dragonfly (prehistoric) had a wingspan of nearly 3 feet.

There are over 400 species of dragonflies in the United States.  They are found near bodies of water…ponds, small lakes and slow moving streams, which explains why we have so many here.  They must love the slow-moving "dead river" in our wooded land.  I hope they lay lots of eggs so we can have more this summer.  The principal purpose of the flying stage is to mate and lay more eggs.  Whenever you see two dragonflies moving through the air… one clinging to the other, you know they are mating and preparing for many more young dragonflies to be hatched from the resultant fertilized eggs.

Young dragonflies are not born with wings; those develop later.  When they do fly they can fly forward, backward, sideways, and can hover in one spot…..amazing how perfect nature is far ahead of human flying technology!!   There has only recently been aircraft that can hover like a dragonfly.  Helicopters can do it but I am not sure if they can fly sideways. As always the Creation is amazingly designed and perfect in all its forms….for the purpose for which it was created.

Ancient myths said that if you slept outside you were in danger of having your eyes sewn shut by dragonflies.  It is NOT true so go ahead an take a nap out in your lounge chair..even if the dragonflies, which seem to be curious about humans, are hovering all around you.  You will NOT have your eyes sewn shut—trust me!!

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