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Before moving to my new place I never knew what a big predator of honey bees that dragonflies are. I feel like I live in a killing ground.

I am located on top of a sandy hill overlooking hundreds of acres of flood plane. Ought to be honeybee paradise because of the year around flowers. I was puzzled earlier this year, before establishing my hives, when I couldn't find any wild bees....none at all. Early this Spring there were lots of wild fruit trees in bloom but no bees. Now that I have moved my hives in I have the answer to the mystery.

There are hundreds of dragonflies on my hill at any given time. I worked my hives late one evening last week and stirred some bees up into the air in the process. It literally looked like a feeding frenzy with the dragonflies. I've never seen anything like it in my life. I tried repeatedly to raise queens this Spring and only got a very tiny percentage of queens back into the hive from their mating flight. Lost about 40 and only got 2 back.

Yesterday I watched about 70 bees on a busted watermelon gathering sweet melon juice. As soon as a bee would take off a dragonfly had it before it had gone a foot. Apparently the dragonflies here have made a specialty of eating my bees.

Any suggestions? Ideas for traps? I can't think of anything to do that would knock the dragonfly numbers down that wouldn't also harm my bees. I am at my wits end. I just can't stand to keep watching this.
 

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I'll be interested in any possible solutions to these flying bums aswell.

I don't have as big of a dragonfly problem that you apparently do, but I have a small pond that the bees go to get water from that has about 30-50 dragonflys at it at any one time. Not quite a feeding frenzy as you alluded too, but it is noticeable every 10-15 minutes a couple do fly byes of my hives, which I have no doubt that they are killing bees each time.

I just hate to think that as I expand my apiary (target goal is same number as yours) that I am also giving the dragonflys more and more dinner on silver platters. The last thing I want to do is increase the dragonfly population by giving them a buffet.
 

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Adult dragonflies only live about two months.. but they do chow down ....they can eat more blood sucking pests than honey bees .. not that it matters ..
 

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Most research I have read (1st year beek, many years with purple martins) show that martins feed at higher altitudes then what the bees are typically at. I am sure there are times that bees fly higher but I think more of their time is spent closer to the ground where their food sources are. I did take a bunch of pictures one day of tree swallows feeding newborns, I was shocked to see when I got home to my computer and enlarged the photos they the swallows were feeding honey bees. They must have there hive and just went straight to it to feed. When I get back home I will try to find the photos, they were published in a bee magazine a couple years ago.
I know many purple martin landlords who also keep bees and none have reported a problem. I am sure they might get the occasional bee but they won't seek them out.
 

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Before moving to my new place I never knew what a big predator of honey bees that dragonflies are. I feel like I live in a killing ground.

I am located on top of a sandy hill overlooking hundreds of acres of flood plane. Ought to be honeybee paradise because of the year around flowers. I was puzzled earlier this year, before establishing my hives, when I couldn't find any wild bees....none at all. Early this Spring there were lots of wild fruit trees in bloom but no bees. Now that I have moved my hives in I have the answer to the mystery.

There are hundreds of dragonflies on my hill at any given time. I worked my hives late one evening last week and stirred some bees up into the air in the process. It literally looked like a feeding frenzy with the dragonflies. I've never seen anything like it in my life. I tried repeatedly to raise queens this Spring and only got a very tiny percentage of queens back into the hive from their mating flight. Lost about 40 and only got 2 back.

Yesterday I watched about 70 bees on a busted watermelon gathering sweet melon juice. As soon as a bee would take off a dragonfly had it before it had gone a foot. Apparently the dragonflies here have made a specialty of eating my bees.

Any suggestions? Ideas for traps? I can't think of anything to do that would knock the dragonfly numbers down that wouldn't also harm my bees. I am at my wits end. I just can't stand to keep watching this.
I have found this to be a serious problem, with no real solution offered anywhere I have looked. The dragon flies that have gathered at my new hive have increased in great numbers and go nowhere else to catch insects. Upon inspection of the hive, the bee population does not seem to have any significant increase in population. This is a real threat and I really wish someone who has dealt with this would offer a solution. I will lose my hive to these dragon flies despite what some are saying to the contrary.
 

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The only thing I can suggest is to move your beehives.
If it was your land with some ponds, then you may be able to control them somewhat by cleaning your pond of aquatic plants to keep the nymphs from hatching out. or using fish to eat the nymphs. But since the dragonfly source seems to be unlimited, you will always have this problem. At least the dragonflies are helping to keep the mosquito population in check.
 

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While I appreciate the suggestions, I’m finding a certain difficulty in finding solutions in them. While I appreciate the suggestion to leave the dragon flies alone, I also know from research and observation that especially in new hives, the dragon flies are not going to bother with mosquitoes or any other insects when a ready supply is present that they do not have to work for. They will also increase in population based on this newly found food source. The pond is a community pond that ten residents share. Fish, turtles, ducks and other wildlife frequent it so “clearing the pond” is not a possible solution. If anyone knows how to control the dragon flies directly, I would really like some help.
 

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There isn't a reasonable solution, it's like a location with a bunch of wild birds eating your bees.

Do you shoot and kill all the birds so you can have a beehive?
 

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There isn't a reasonable solution, it's like a location with a bunch of wild birds eating your bees.

Do you shoot and kill all the birds so you can have a beehive?
I’m not going to participate in an argument. To assume there isn’t a solution because you don’t know of one is not reasonable. To assume the eradication of birds is the only solution is to say wherever there are beehives there are no birds.
 

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While I appreciate the suggestions, I’m finding a certain difficulty in finding solutions in them. While I appreciate the suggestion to leave the dragon flies alone, I also know from research and observation that especially in new hives, the dragon flies are not going to bother with mosquitoes or any other insects when a ready supply is present that they do not have to work for. They will also increase in population based on this newly found food source. The pond is a community pond that ten residents share. Fish, turtles, ducks and other wildlife frequent it so “clearing the pond” is not a possible solution. If anyone knows how to control the dragon flies directly, I would really like some help.
Maybe put out some suet and sunflower seeds. Also a bird bath. Bluebird houses will attract bluebirds, they eat insects. Suet and sunflowers seeds will attract birds and they will prey on dragonflies once they start hanging around your yard.
I have 3 pairs of mockingbirds that use my suet year round and basically moved in. They eat all kinds of insects. Even my catalpa worms.
Flycatchers may come around as well.
I have a pond across the road, a creek along the side of my property, and a several beaver ponds below my property. I see some dragonflies but not an excessive number.
The adult dragonflies live for about two months so you could move your hives back once they die off.
And once you get a lot of birds around they should help control dragonflies so you can keep your hives at home. They may eat some bees as well but I find they do not seem to eat many.
 

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Maybe put out some suet and sunflower seeds. Also a bird bath. Bluebird houses will attract bluebirds, they eat insects. Suet and sunflowers seeds will attract birds and they will prey on dragonflies once they start hanging around your yard.
I have 3 pairs of mockingbirds that use my suet year round and basically moved in. They eat all kinds of insects. Even my catalpa worms.
Flycatchers may come around as well.
I have a pond across the road, a creek along the side of my property, and a several beaver ponds below my property. I see some dragonflies but not an excessive number.
The adult dragonflies live for about two months so you could move your hives back once they die off.
And once you get a lot of birds around they should help control dragonflies so you can keep your hives at home. They may eat some bees as well but I find they do not seem to eat many.
Thank you very much! A bird bath and seeds! Excellent! I will definitely try that. This makes sense.
 

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I am going through a similar problem currently. I'm working on experimenting now if anyone else is having the same problem and interested in techniques and trial and error.

First attempt: Netting.
I notice that they hover over the hive. I'm thinking if there is a netting between the hive and the dragonflies they will move away from the hive.

Second attempt I am thinking of a fan or wind. I obviously haven't thought that completely through. I'm also thinking what mirrors may be able to do since the dragonflies will see a reflection of themselves instead of the bees leaving the hive.

This seems to be an under-discussed issue and I'm hoping people may participate in this discussion so we can figure out ways to keep both dragonflies and bees coexisting.

To bee continued...
 

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Are there any experienced (10+ years) beekeepers in your area you could ask? I'm a little skeptical that it's really as big of an issue as it feels like, but what do I know, maybe your area just has A LOT of dragonflies.
 

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I am going through a similar problem currently. I'm working on experimenting now if anyone else is having the same problem and interested in techniques and trial and error.

First attempt: Netting.
I notice that they hover over the hive. I'm thinking if there is a netting between the hive and the dragonflies they will move away from the hive.

Second attempt I am thinking of a fan or wind. I obviously haven't thought that completely through. I'm also thinking what mirrors may be able to do since the dragonflies will see a reflection of themselves instead of the bees leaving the hive.

This seems to be an under-discussed issue and I'm hoping people may participate in this discussion so we can figure out ways to keep both dragonflies and bees coexisting.

To bee continued...
The dragonflies will probably land on the netting and wait for the bees to come flying by.
Birds are your friends,
Eastern Phoebe Flycatcher



I have several of these flycatchers hanging around right now.
I have suet out and put out sunflower seeds regularly. I also have a bird bath which a lot of birds use.
 

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I live in the Alabama (NY) swamps and dragonflies this time of year are everywhere. However, the DEC has Martin houses by almost every pond and lake. While I have 95%+ queens return mated in the spring, right now there is about a 0% chance. I'm sure it's dragonflies. However, the hives with a queen continue to grow and pack away honey. The dragonflies are a pest that prohibits queen mating, but not overall hive health. I'd recommend some purple Martin houses to see if it helps.
 

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Birds are your friends,
Eastern Phoebe Flycatcher
I have a whole bunch of those things, there are three nests over my front door and a half a dozen more on two sides of the porch. They come back every year, and if I take the nests away they just build new ones. They eat bees too, sometimes I see them sitting on the hives.

A few nights ago I walked out the door and four or five of them started flying around my head. At least they didn't crap all over me like the robins in my garage.
 
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