Every pond owner knows how enticing pond water can be to insects. In fact, insects complete the pond’s ecosystem since they act as food for pond fish as well as feed on algae.
For this reason, you should expect bugs as a natural part of any pond. So, you should know all about common pond insects, their life cycle, and the benefits they bring.
This way, you’ll be able to tell if there’s an intruding pest! In this article, we’ve listed some insects that you’ll find in almost every pond. Let’s dive in.
Most insect larvae need water to survive for the first couple of months. Naturally, insects gravitate toward bodies of water to lay their eggs.
Yet, what sets ponds apart is that ponds are relatively stagnant. This means there’s less risk of the eggs or immature insects flowing away or getting hurt in any turbulence.
Moreover, a lot of freshwater insects are intolerant to pollution. So, a cleaner pond is more likely to attract insects.
8 Common Pond Insects
Here are some common insects that might make a home out of your pond:
You might know mayflies by their common name, nymphs. However, this name refers to the mayfly larvae, which are immature insects that typically reside in pond water.
Mayflies can quickly colonize new ponds. That’s because these insects begin their life cycle in the water where they spend the first year maturing and feeding on algae.
Usually, the fish in the pond will consume most mayfly larvae. So, you won’t have to eradicate them.
However, in some cases, hordes of mayflies might molt, mate, then lay their eggs in your pond. This results in a carpet of eggs and an excess of nymphs that you’ll have to manually remove.
2 – Dragonfly
Dragonflies are popular pond insects not only because they’re gorgeous, but they can be quite beneficial. The flies find a home in ponds with plenty of aquatic plants such as water lilies and irises.
There are many types of dragonflies that emerge at different times. This means if you have a pond, chances are you’ll also have dragonflies throughout the year.
These insects are essential for the pond’s ecosystem. That’s because, during the larval stage, dragonflies can eat other insects and tadpoles
Once dragonflies mature, they make great food for the fish in your pond! All you have to do is keep the bottom of your pond a little mucky as the dirt makes an excellent hiding space for dragonfly larvae!
Water striders are probably some of the most interesting insects that you can have in your pond. These bugs can walk on water!
The reason water striders can effortlessly glide on the surface is the presence of thousands of microscopic hairs on their legs. This creates surface tension that basically makes the insects’ limbs hydrophobic.
Furthermore, the insects spend their entire life near the water, whether they’re submerged during the larval stage, or skating the surface when they mature.
Some water striders don’t develop strong enough wings to fly. After all, as long as there are other small larvae and insects for the striders to feed on, there’s no need to leave the pond.
If you’re lucky, you might have a couple of damselflies visiting your pond from time to time. The larvae and small hatchlings often live in still water, while the mature insect inhabits nearby areas.
There’s a reason damselflies’ common name is jewel wings. They have extremely mesmerizing wings that glisten and reflect light. Additionally, their slender bodies have a unique cobalt or emerald color.
If you want to attract these gorgeous bugs, your pond has to be spotless. That’s because damselflies are fairly intolerant of pollution.
In fact, climate change and water pollution are major threats to damselflies, so much so that some species of damselflies are at risk of extinction.
As their name suggests, water boatmen are flat insects much like a boat, with their long hind legs resembling oars. They’re responsible for the chirping sound you often hear near ponds.
Their unique body structure allows the insects to stay underwater for extended periods. Water boatmen only need to float to the surface from time to time. Then, the bugs dive back to the bottom, carrying an air bubble with them!
Water boatmen are great for clearing up algae and mosquito larvae from your pond. If there aren’t enough nutrients, the insects can feed on aquatic plants.
Yet, this isn’t a cause for concern as water boatmen rarely colonize ponds. Additionally, pond fish feed on the bugs, limiting their population.
Water mites spend their entire life submerged in still water, such as ponds and slow-moving rivers. Though these mites are incredibly small, you might spot them due to their vibrant colors that range from scarlet to bright yellow.
Additionally, you’ll immediately notice how they affect your pond’s ecosystem. These parasites can eat aquatic insects and plants, as well as, infect small fish!
Usually, a small number of water mites can be biological control agents. However, they might also quickly become a problem by infesting your pond.
Not only can water mites affect the health of your plants and fish, but they can also burrow into your skin, causing rash and allergies.
Stoneflies can be hard to detect in your pond. These bugs are tiny and can spend years submerged. As a matter of fact, immature bugs have gills that allow them to breathe underwater.
Once they mature, they only emerge from the pond to lay eggs during their short-lived adult stage.
These minute nymphs feed on algae and other aquatic plants. They can also eat smaller larvae and plankton. You can tell stonefly nymphs apart from other larvae by their pair of tails. Finding these larvae in your pond is a good sign.
Since stoneflies are sensitive to pollution, their presence is a pretty good indicator of a clean pond and high-quality water.
Crane flies can live both in aquatic and terrestrial environments. However, crane fly larvae prefer moist conditions, which makes ponds an excellent growing spot for nymphs.
You’ll likely find crane flies anywhere from the surface of the pond, to its margins. You might even discover them buried in the wet soil. There, they can feed on different types of plant roots.
These larvae have a distinct shape. You can easily mistake them for worms. Unlike worms though, they can breathe and live entirely underwater.
Adult crane flies can be easily mistaken for mosquitoes. In some instances, some might identify them as daddy long-leg spiders.
However, crane flies are entirely harmless. They don’t even possess a piercing mouth meaning they’re unable to bite!
In simple terms, pond insects are essential for the maintenance of a complete ecosystem. Most of them are harmless.
What’s more is that if you leave insects and their larvae to live freely, they’re not likely to become an issue. The reason behind this is that they’re a part of your pond fish’s diet.
This means that the insect population is basically self-limiting. However, you might suffer from insect infestations during mating seasons, or if you don’t have enough fish in your pond.
In this case, you can simply rely on natural pest controllers such as fish and ducks. Even agitating the pond water would be enough to get rid of the pests as they only live in still water.
If you have a pond, chances are you’ll also have some insect visitors from time to time! Some insects might even make a home out of your pond for years.
Stillwater ponds make excellent spots for insects to safely lay their eggs. Once the eggs hatch, they become a part of the pond where they feed on algae, and also provide food for pond fish.
You’ll find many common pond insects beneficial, such as the gorgeously luminous damselfly. Bugs such as stoneflies can even be a sign of a clean pond!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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