How to Attract Fireflies to Your Yard

You can create a bright outdoor oasis filled with these lightning bugs, according to an entomologist.

While some people may enjoy gazing up at the night sky for a light show, you can attract one specific insect to make your very own yard glow: fireflies. According to the Firefly Conservation and Research, fireflies are found virtually everywhere in the world. Since they thrive in humid environments, the association notes that fireflies are usually seen in the summertime primarily during the months of May, June, and July in the United States where they often gather in forests and marshes by lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. Even if you don't have these features near your home, you can still easily draw them in. Since "fireflies are attracted to shaded and moist areas and live most of their lives in the soil and leaf litter," says Josh Matta, an entomologist for Spectrum Garden Brands, you can create a habitat for them to thrive, too. Ahead, find out how.

Fireflies flying outdoors
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Create a Firefly-Friendly Habitat

"Maintain a natural habitat on the edges of a yard with shrubs and dense vegetation, so the soil retains moisture," explains Matta as the first step to attract fireflies. Consider Star Jasmine and Lady Palm as backyard plant options. From there, he notes that you should rake leaves and pile them in a shaded area of your yard. The reason? This will attract snails and slugs for immature fireflies to eat. Adult fireflies tend to eat pollen and nectar from plants or sometimes nothing at all as their lifespans are short (about four weeks long) when they are mature. Lastly, avoid pesticides as much as possible. You'll then allow the natural areas of your yard to continue to grow with immature fireflies and their food sources.

Maintaining Their Environment

Matta says that the best way to keep your yard as a safe place for fireflies is by ensuring the natural yard space stays packed with dense vegetation for shade and high soil moisture. Aside from steering clear of pesticides, lighting is also crucial. "Remove any bright lights from your backyard, so you do not repel adult fireflies," he advises. The team at Firefly Conservation and Research also notes that you shouldn't mow your lawn too low. Long grass environments are great to attract fireflies since the insects are nocturnal, and they are usually on the ground during daytime. At night, the bugs will then go on top of the taller grass and signal for mates by lighting up.

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