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Why you saw swarms of dragonflies across Northeast Ohio

Posted: 12:08 PM, Sep 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-11 12:50:58-04
Dragonfly at Lake Metroparks.
Washington Daily Life Dragonfly

LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — Just before sunset on Tuesday, people from across all over Northeast Ohio saw swarms of dragonflies appearing in their backyards; this phenomenon is attributed to an available food source for the dragonflies that are migrating south to warmer place for the winter months.

John Pogacnik, a biologist for the Lake Metroparks, said he too noticed a massive number of dragonflies in his backyard at his home in Madison Township, located in Lake County.

“I was seeing hundreds at my house. When I looked closer at what they were grabbing that was so close to the ground, they were actually flying ants,” Pogacnik said.

Towards the end of summer, some of the ants get wings to find other locations to lay their eggs, so there are huge numbers of them coming up off the ground. The migrating dragonflies take advantage of a free food source, and in this case, it was the ants and other small bugs flying lower to the ground, which makes dragonflies easier to see.

The National Weather Service released a radar picture showing mostly dragonflies traveling in swarms across the area.

The sighting of dragonflies could happen again given the south winds that Northeast Ohio area has been experiencing. Like monarchs, the dragonflies tend to hang around the area until north winds occur to make their migration easier.

Pogacnik said some of the species of dragonflies the public will commonly see include black saddlebags and the wandering glider.

He said if a large number of dragonflies are spotted again, pay close attention to what they're grabbing near the ground.

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