FARGO - Dragonfly-hatching season in North Dakota and northern Minnesota has commenced. It's nearly impossible in recent days to look up and not see a mob of the gigantic-eyed flying insects swarm the sky, leaving many area residents wondering if this is normal.
Dragonflies are here, there and everywhere in 2018, but the tremendous amount of the creatures is no cause for concern, according to North Dakota State University entomologist diagnostician Alexander Knudson said. The dawn of the dragonflies is customary for this time of year.
Like most insects, dragonflies have a specific life cycle and time they emerge, Knudson said. And that time is now in the area, the height of spring or beginning of summer.
Knudson believes around 30 species of dragonflies exist in North Dakota and northern Minnesota, and they all have different times they come out during the year.
Although it can be a bit alarming when a giant swarm flies by, dragonflies are harmless to people and pets, Knudson said. Surprisingly, they are some of the most beneficial insects to have around, spending pretty much all of their adult life eating the pesky bugs we don't like, he said.
Seen as creepy to some, dragonflies are actually our friends, Knudson added, and do the ultimate good: they eat mosquitoes.
"Sometimes, if you watch closely, you can see dragonflies skimming over the surface of a pond, lake or river with their legs in a basket shape," Knudson said. "Usually what they are doing is scooping up all the mosquitoes we think are annoying and bothersome. They get a big, whole armful and stuff them in their face."
Typically, lakeside properties and businesses tend to get more dragonflies swarming nearby than dry locations because the insects spend most of their lives underwater, Knudson added.
However, Scott Schulte, manager of the Hotel Shoreham lakeside hangout south of Detroit Lakes, Minn., said he hasn't noticed the bugs being a pest to his customers or his business.
"I welcome and like dragonflies because they eat the other mosquitoes and pestful bugs," Schulte said.
The bar, bistro and pizzeria manager said he hasn't had any issues with the large insects and guests have never said anything about them - although there are lots flying around the place these days.
"The dragonflies are usually only bad for about two or three weeks," Schulte said, "but when you've been a Minnesota resident for a long time, you know they'll be bad for just a short amount of time."
Schulte said he'll usually see the insects at their heaviest from late May to mid-June. By the end of June, they'll still be around, he added, but not as many.
The specific dragonfly species that recently hatched in the area will ease up in a bit, Knudson said. But don't get too excited - another round will emerge come the Fourth of July.