bugs in our pond

Asked October 20, 2016, 4:44 PM EDT

While draining my small urban pond yesterday, I came upon many many many bugs burrowing in the mud at the bottom. They at first looked like grasshoppers but are smaller and not thin. The are wider than boxelders and sort of like boxelders. A head seperate from the thorax, six legs and dark in color. Have had this pond for 20 years and never seen these bugs before. Will try to get a pix but have covered the pond with plastic now.

Ramsey County Minnesota insect identification dragonflies

3 Responses

They could be Odonata nymphs - dragonflies or damselflies. It is impossible to say for certain without a picture, but Google dragonfly nymph and damselfly nymph images and you can see if they look close. Damselfly nymphs are usually narrower than dragonflies, so yours are probably dragonflies.

I love Odonatas, but be aware that, if you stock your pond with fish, some of the larger dragonfly nymphs can eat small fish or tadpoles.

Thanks! Dragonfly nymph looks exactly like it! Problem solved.

I am not sure if you removed the nymphs when draining the pond, but regardless they will not survive the winter.

Dragonflies lay their eggs on vegetation coming out of the water in lakes and ponds. The eggs hatch fairly quickly and the resulting nymphs molt six to fifteen times before they transition into a flying dragonfly. This takes a year or more. Some dragonflies can be in this stage for six years. You might have noticed some old shells in your pond.

The nymphs are aquatic and live in water or the mud at the bottom of lakes and ponds. They need a non-freezing, wet location to survive. A drained pond or one that freezes solid in the winter will not provide the protection they need and they will die. Pond liners also prevent them from reaching the warmer soil areas deeper in the bottom.

I am very happy to hear of the nymphs, but it sounds like a dragonfly made a poor choice when laying her eggs. I am sure you are relieved that the nymphs, which can look quite sinister, are actually good bugs and not something to be concerned about.