A common joke in Minnesota is that the State Bird is the Mosquito. Actually it’s the Common Loon, Great Northern Loon or Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) but we have a lot more mosquitoes than loons even if you include all the Homo sapiens. Being a partial fan of the Archdruid Report and Green applications in daily life we have decided that biological controls for the evil, flying vampire bitches from Minnesota would be the best approach. There are 170 species of mosquitoes in North America and over 50 in Minnesota, such as Culex pipiens. There are over 3500 species worldwide! Their primary predators are bats (Chiropterae), purple martins (Progne subis) and my favorite: mosquito hawks or dragonflies (Odanatae). There are about 140 species of dragonflies and damselflies in Minnesota. So when we were working on the yard last weekend it was nice thinking about what we want to do for the gardens while swatting at the mosquitoes driven out of the long grass as I mowed it. I’m also seriously thinking about participating in The Minnesota Odonata Survey Project (MOSP).
Our plan for our last garden, the East garden will include some native plants, a complex water feature and a dragonfly hatchery. Building a few bat houses first to put up in the big Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) will be relatively easy in comparison. The bats will control at night and the dragonflies during the day. When I attended the Rainbow Gathering the summer of 1990 in Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota the bats and dragonflies did their job phenomenally well. I never forgot that. The State of Minnesota on the other hand regularly uses chemicals to control mosquitoes. I remember as a kid the trucks driving by fogging the area for them. If you want to live as Green as possible with a minimum of chemicals then you use local Biological Pest Control wherever possible or fast biodegradable chemical applications like nicotine as an insecticide, which degrades in a matter of a few days for example.
Another item that was a big boost for me was what I found while I was studying Basque Language and Culture as the only surviving Pre-Indo-European society in Western Europe. The old Basque pagan beliefs (they are largely Catholic now) offers many clues as to what pre-Celtic and and pre-Nordic paganism was like. Anyway I discovered the Basque word for ‘dragonfly’ was ‘sorginorratz’ which literally means ‘witches’ needle’ Wow! How cool is that! The plural, ‘dragonflies’ would be ‘sorginorratzak’ in Basque hence the title for today’s blog. So with all that I decided what I wanted to build is essentially a solar powered dragonfly hatchery water feature with four aquaria for minnows, goldfish and such for the larvae, an Odanate Tetraquarium so to speak.