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   Last summer, I noticed dragonflies hovering and hunting over the hives at
dusk at one site where I keep bees. They were maintaining a 20 to 30 foot
altitude. The hives are in a clearing next to my relative’s home and the bees
commonly fly straight up to go over the trees or the house.
   I spoke to a dragonfly researcher today. Dragonflies are very efficient
insect hunters. They breed in wetlands, but often leave them to hunt
elsewhere. Dragonflies, and especially a suborder she referred to as the
“darners” are attracted to swarms and masses of flying insects, much the way
predator fish are attracted to schools of smaller fish. And this is why you
might find them flying over your apiaries.
   The number of bees they take is insignificant (judging from the honey
production of those hives last summer), and I welcome their presence as they
consume huge numbers of mosquitoes and flies—a great beneficial for your
garden and yard. I’ll point the dragonflies out to my relatives this summer
and explain what they do to pest species, which will be just another good
reason to keep honeybees in the yard.