A pond can be a unique aesthetic addition to any outdoor environment, inviting an assortment of plant life and wildlife that otherwise would never naturally occur there. Learning to recognise pond insects is beneficial not only for monitoring the health of your pond but for making sure that children or pets that frequent the pond are safe. There are myriad and varied insects that naturally occur in or around ponds, so it is instructive to look at the most common ones first.
Anyone who has spent any time near a pond has more than likely seen dragonflies. Dragonflies are attracted to ponds, marshes and slow-moving streams because all these bodies of water contain dragonfly food sources such as mollusks, other insects, crustaceans, worms and small fish. Dragonflies are also well-adapted for pond hunting since their green and brown bodies easily camouflage among aquatic plants and vegetation around ponds.
Mosquitoes are pervasive in many outdoor habitats but they tend to breed in ponds and in other similar bodies of water. Mosquito larvae are equipped with siphon tubes, not unlike a snorkel used for diving, that allows them to extract oxygen from water, even waters that are very low in oxygen content. Mosquito larvae are tiny and difficult to observe but sometimes can be seen as long, slender creatures moving in S-shaped curves near the surface of pond water.
Like mosquito larvae, giant waterbugs have adapted snorkel-like breathing tubes that allow them to take in oxygen from pond water. Giant waterbugs earn their name because they can grow up to 8cm in size. Their strong jaws, hard exoskeletons and special hooks on their front legs make them successful predators, sometimes attacking prey up to 20 times their size.
Other Typical Pond Insects
There are so many insects that are naturally drawn to ponds that it is impossible to briefly summarise them all. For the most part, insects that are likely to collect in or near ponds are not a health threat but merely a nuisance to humans, like mosquitoes for instance. Since insects that proliferate in ponds have typically adapted the ability to extract oxygen from the pond water, a large insect population can sometimes be an indication of healthy pond water that is sufficiently oxygen-rich to support diverse species of plant and animal life.