MECHANIC FALLS – The local Masonic lodge is looking for volunteers to help release dragonfly nymphs on Saturday, May 22, to help reduce the mosquito population in Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls.

The Masons of Tyrian Lodge No. 73 hope to improve summer recreation and reduce the potential for illnesses such as heartworm, West Nile Virus and encephalitis. The nymph project is the lodge’s 2004 Community Betterment Program.

Under the direction of acting Lodge Master Joshua Armstrong, Masons and other volunteers will release 3,000 dragonfly nymphs into the wetlands where mosquitoes breed.

The program has been run in other areas with much success. It is being partially funded through a matching grant from the Masonic Grand Lodge of Maine.

Dragonfly nymphs have a two- to three-year life cycle, with adults living from four to six weeks after emerging. The nymphs are aggressive predators. They spend most of their time in heavy weed cover, climbing around aquatic vegetation and actively pursuing prey. They consume enormous amounts of mosquito eggs, which help control the population.

This method of mosquito reduction is ecologically safe, and is most effective when the community gets together and covers wetlands and swampy areas around schools, parks, ball fields and their homes. To have a lasting effect, the distribution of dragonfly nymphs should be done every year to build up the dragonfly population.

If you are interested in assisting with this project, or if you have any questions, please contact Lodge Master Joshua Armstrong at 346-3015.

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