Experts weigh in on the buzz around dragonflies

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The buzz around town is truly a "buzz." Milwaukee's got a whole lot of dragonflies right now.

Charlie Bauer takes pictures of people at South Shore Terrace Beer Garden, but today, on Sept. 2, his camera is pointed up.

"And I don't think I've seen this many out maybe ever. It's pretty but it's also kind of scary because they're like little dinosaurs at the same time so," said photographer Charlie Bauer.

Clusters are showing up all over the state actually.

"So especially if you're close to the lakeshore, you can see quite an amazing event going on where there can be literally hundreds or even thousands flying past," said Dan Jackson, Wisconsin Dragonfly Society treasurer.

For 14 years, Dan Jackson has been with the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society -- yep, it's a thing.

"It's basically all about education and trying to get people interested in a really interesting group of insects (laughs)" said Jackson.

This is the common green darner species. That's what's out there.

"It's a big dragonfly, close to three inches long. The head and the thorax are green. And they're fast fliers, they're powerful fliers and they can fly anywhere from ground level anywhere up to way over your head," said Jackson.

Bayview is buzzing with them, and it's got people talking.

"There was like a huge swarm and it was kind of freaky looking at first," said Sarah Fandel, Bayview resident.

"So butterflies are your very favorite? Yea. Are dragonflies your second favorite? Yes," said 6-year-old Sophia Landa.

Well it is kind of hard to see but as the sun goes down here we are walking in the middle of what seems to be hundreds, maybe even thousands of dragonflies that are just buzzing all around us. And I want to tell you that if you don't like mosquito bites, hang out with dragonflies more because what we've learned is that dragonflies eat mosquitoes.

"Having a big swarm in your yard is a good thing especially if you have a bad case of mosquitoes or something like that. They can really have a positive impact," said Jackson.

Jackson says the fall migration happens every year. Dragonflies seek out a food source, like they were doing here at south shore, essentially stocking up for the journey ahead. Some will migrate all the way to Mexico and lay eggs. Their offspring migrate back to Wisconsin in the spring.

"All of a sudden, they'll congregate there and take advantage of that and create a big feeding swarm and consume those before they head on south if you will. They're taking up for a big trip. They're gonna fly anywhere from a thousand to 1,500 miles," said Jackson. "It's amazing that such a little itty bit created will go that far," said Jackson.

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