Catching dragonflies can be great fun, and is very simple too. There are many different reasons to catch them. Some people do it to take pictures, while others do it to observe the insects’ behavior. There is one important rule, though, that should be followed: be extremely careful not to harm the dragonfly. Remember, God told us to take dominion over His creation, which means we are caretakers, not destroyers.
Several tools are needed for catching dragonflies:
- Net (long pole with long net)
- Cooler with ice or ice block
- Rubber boots
The last item is optional, but is quite useful for getting closer to the dragonflies. First things first: to find a spot where they are in abundance. Lakes and ponds on a hot summer day have a lot around, but a marshy area is thickest with them.
Plan your outing on a hot, sunny day. This will yield the best results for finding a good-sized population and variety. Once you arrive, find a spot on the edge of the water (or in it if you have rubber boots) where there is good dragonfly traffic. When situated in your spot, you nay commence swinging your net at passing dragonflies.
This is the most crucial part of the process, so you may need to read this over a couple of times. When you swing the net at a dragon fly, do it very quickly. Dragonflies are like little helicopters with lightning speed and can easily out-maneuver your net if you give them a chance to see it. The very second that the dragonfly enters the net, twist it; by doing this, you prevent the dragonfly from flying right back out of the net. Like I said before, they are as quick as lightning and can fly faster than you can swing your net. This brings us to another detail. Make sure that the net is long enough; if it is too short, when you twist the net it will not trap the dragonfly.
Now once you have caught the dragonfly in your net by the twisting trick, you insert your hand into the net and very carefully grab it by its wings. Be extremely careful! Take it out and put it inside the envelope. Close the envelope, but do not seal it. Set the envelope inside the cooler on the ice. (The dragonfly would probably die if set directly on the ice.) Leave the envelope in the cooler for a minute or so. No more than two minutes. You wouldn’t want to risk killing it. Don’t worry. As long as you don’t leave the dragonfly on too long you won’t hurt it. All that happens is the dragonfly’s blood cools, slowing the flow of the blood. The slowing of the blood causes all its actions to be slowed; the dragonfly then is unable to fly until it warms up.
After the dragonfly has been cooled, you can take it out of the envelope. You must still be careful with it, but it is easier now that the dragonfly cannot fly. If you have an identification guide, you could identify it at this time. (If you don’t, I advise you to get the book Stokes Beginners Guide to Dragonflies.) After you have identified your dragonfly you may want to take a few pictures of this beautiful insect. You could set it on a bush or some flowers, and you could get some great photographs that your friends will be amazed at. Finally, after taking pictures, put the dragonfly on a bush in the sun to warm up, not on the ground where it could be stepped on. You could go on to catch more dragonflies, or end your adventure with that one. I’m sure that if you’ll just try this out you won’t regret it. God has given to us His creation to enjoy, and if you take the time to explore it, you’ll enjoy it even more!