The dragonfly, as one of the largest flying insects, may seem threatening, but the truth is that dragonflies are harmless, at least to humans. They are predatory insects that feed mainly on mosquitoes and crop pests, making them extremely dangerous to small insects. However, although they can sometimes be seen in swarms and can land precariously near humans, they do not attack humans or pets. Dragonflies can pinch the skin if you try to catch one, but they are not dangerous to humans.
Dragonflies are in the company of cockroaches as one of the longest living insects on the planet. Fossilized dragonflies with a wingspan of 30 inches (76.2 cm) or more have been found, making them the largest insects. Fortunately, they have become much smaller over time and now have an average wingspan of a few inches.
There are hundreds of species of dragonflies. Adult male dragonflies are usually very brightly colored, and the wings of adult dragonflies do not fold, even when at rest. If you see what you think is a dragonfly with its wings folded behind its back, it is very likely to be the dragonfly, a close relative of the dragonflies.
The larvae, or immature phase, of dragonflies lay and develop in the water. Even in adulthood, dragonflies do not especially move away from water sources. They are often found near lakes, streams and rivers.
The immature stages feed on other aquatic insects and sometimes very small fish. Adults hunt mosquitoes and other parasites. Often, when seen in swarms, dragonflies are hunting. They can fall on an insect in the air and continue flying. They grab their prey between their legs and eat as they run.
Although there is some folklore about the danger and the secret powers that surround dragonflies, they do not sting or bite, they do not have ancient powers and they are not considered harmful. In fact, they are beneficial insects as they eat other pests. The next time you find a dragonfly, be careful, but remember that it can only help the environment and can even get rid of some unwanted mosquitoes from your garden.