Swarms of dragonflies take over Chicago's lakefront

Chicago is always a popular destination in the summer. But this year it is being overrun by not only people, but giant swarms of dragonflies.

- Chicago is always a popular destination in the summer. But this year it is being overrun by not only people, but giant swarms of dragonflies.

It’s always a beautiful way to spend the day, walking or biking along Chicago’s spectacular lakefront. But now you have plenty of flying company.

FOX 32: What are you noticing as you walk around here?

"We're just seeing a lot of dragonflies," a Chicago woman said.

A group of Chicagoans said, "That there's dragonflies, everywhere. And they come down like swooping in front of your face. Yep."

Anax Junius is better known as the Green Dormer Dragonfly.

For the past week or so, swarms of the two inch long insect have been blanketing areas along the lakefront, which is a beautiful mystery for some and a freak-out for others.

"They were everywhere at Lollapalooza. When I looked up there was a swarm of dragonflies," a Chicago man said.

"They'll like hit you in the face. They're not afraid. They're everywhere and they're beautiful. They're huge," another woman said.

She added, "I am curious as to why they seem to hover over this area in particular. I'll probably do a Google search when I get home.”

Better yet, let's ask biologist Doug Taron.

"It's an amazing phenomenon. Watch them, enjoy them. They're a lot of fun," said Taron.

Taron, of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, said  it's hard to pinpoint exactly why the dragonfly population exploded this year.

However, he said that it probably has to do with the large mosquito population that's a source of food for the dragonflies, which can live for up to six months.

And also, why are so many dragonflies along the lake?

"The lake functions as a migrant trap. Things kind of edge over to the lake and then don't want to go over the large expanse of water. So right on the lakeshore they pile up,” Taron said.

"A lot of people think it's really cool. Some people get a little nervous by it. There's not really anything to be alarmed at. They're not dangerous to people. They don't sting. They don't bite," he added.

And while the dragonflies are eating the mosquitos, FOX 32 saw plenty of birds making meals of the dragonflies.

"They look cool, but I don't know. they like something about Chicago," a Chicago boy said.

FOX 32: You think maybe they're just fans of the city?

"Yes," the boy responded.

Better enjoy them now, because experts say they could vanish as quickly as they appeared.

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