Make your own dragonfly catching net

In Sweden it's quite hard to buy a factory-made dragonfly catching-net. Some entomological societes do sell Fortunately it isn't hard to make a net yourself. There is at least as many net constructions as net owners, so feel free to use and improve my ideas. If you have some good idea, please send me a mail.


A net contains of three parts: the shaft, the ring and the net-bag.

For catching flying dragonflies you will need a air net that is described below. if you want to catch larvae you will need a somewhat other net. Also the larvae net can easily be manufactured

The shaft:

A good shaft is light but stable, a common length is between 1 and 3 meters (about 3 to 10 feet), a too long shaft will be hard to operate with appropriate precision, but a too short shaft will prevent you from reaching the dragonflies. My solution of this problem is a divisible shaft, a short shaft for precision and when the dragonflies are shy, I extend the shaft. There is many different materials that can be useful as shafts, I use bamboo-rods, about two centimeters (3/4 inch) in diameter. Other materials that work well are telescopic glass fiber fishing rods, tree poles, ski-sticks etc. To connect my ordinary shaft with the extension-shaft I have made a connection of a short piece of plastic pipe and a metallic pin.


The ring:

As the shaft, the ring is preferable light and stable. A number of materials are possibly to use: metallic wire 4-5 millimeters (1/6 inch) in diameter, a twig of willow or juniper, etc. I prefer the metallic wire, and a ring diameter of half a meter (20 inches), a larger ring will be to hard to operate with high speed in the air. The junction between the shaft and the ring is a problem, I have seen many constructions, but the perfect one still isn't invented. To get an easy transportable net, a dismountable junction is preferred. My solution is a long screw glued into the shaft and a piece of wood glued to the ring, a hole is drilled through the wood piece and the parts are held together with a wing-nut.


The net-bag:

The net-bag is manufactured of some light and loose-mesh net-cloth. A bright colored stuff may frighten the dragonflies, the best colors are down green, tan or blue. Preferably the cloth is made of some synthetic fibers such as nylon. A synthetic stuff dries fast when you are unlucky to plunge your net into the water, while catching a low-flying dragonfly. To find such cloth is really hard, but be patient check the fabric-shops, somewhere there is some cheep curtain stuff that suits perfectly. If the color is wrong, the stuff can be dyed with fabric dyes. From this stuff you sew a slight cony bag. The depth of the bag should be about 1.5 to 2 times the ring diameter. This size is enough to let you close the net-bag, by turning the shaft a quarter of a turn. Some people use common fabric to strengthen the part near the ring, but if your net is strong you don't need to do this.

Page updated June 21 2008
Copyright 2004-2008 Martin Peterson