What could be more beautiful and magical than a backyard that glows not because of outdoor lighting – or any artificial light, for that matter – but because of fireflies?
But before you go and buy a bunch of firefly simulators to hang in your yard (they do exist, believe it or not), check out what real fireflies can do for your garden.
Benefits of Fireflies
1 – They prey on other, less-helpful creepy-crawlies.
Fireflies – which are actually beetles – eat worms, snails, ants and other arthropods that live in soil.
2 – They can battle over-pollination.
If you find yourself constantly surrounded by pollen from your plants, or you’re suffering from harsh pollen allergies, fireflies can lend a hand. In addition to eating other pesky insects, fireflies also eat lots of pollen. Yum!
3 – They’re great educators.
The most efficient light bulbs on the planet aren’t produced in a factory or designed by scientists – They’re on fireflies!
A firefly’s light emits zero heat. Zero. All of that energy goes towards creating that beautiful glow. Researchers have been trying to figure out the phenomenon for years.
What better time to talk to your kids about saving energy than when they’re gazing at those super-efficient fireflies?
How to Attract Fireflies
Fireflies naturally avoid areas with tons of artificial lighting, but that doesn’t mean your hopes of attracting them into your yard are squashed.
Here are a few things you can do to invite them.
#1 Ditch The Chemicals
There are tons of chemicals you can spray all over your yard to get rid of weeds and pests. But here’s the thing – those chemicals keep a lot of the good things away too!
Fireflies are one of them.
In fact, the prevalent use of pesticides in the U.S. is one of the reasons the firefly population is declining.
#2 Avoid Light Pollution
Fireflies get confused by artificial lights and are more likely to be found in areas where they can use their own lights to communicate with each other.
If you want to attract them to your yard, turn off your porch lights and try to avoid leaving your blinds open at night when the lights are on.
#3 Create Water Hangout Spots
Fireflies love to hang around natural water; areas like ponds, streams and rivers frequently harbor them. In your backyard, a small hole with water in it can attract the insects as well as their prey, which will ensure that they stick around.
#4 Don’t mow your grass too much.
Finally you have a valid excuse to skip mowing the grass – for a while.
Fireflies like to hide in tall grass during the day. Frequently mowing your grass not only disturbs and scares them off – it also removes their habitat.
If you want fireflies in your yard, be sure to leave a few areas of long grass.
#4 Leave Them Alone
Once you’ve got fireflies in your yard, don’t bother them by putting them in jars.
This is traumatic and will ensure that the remaining fireflies pack up and head for the hills.
Taking the time to observe fireflies creates a good opportunity to teach your kids how to enjoy nature without damaging it – which is always ideal.
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