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How To Attract Fireflies & Build Habitat

July 03 2022 – Kelly LaVaute, Digital Storyteller


@gardenforwildlife Are you supporting nature’s own firework? A quintessential part of summer evenings, it’s easy to invite these flashy visitors to your garden. #GardenForWildlife #Fireflies ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

If you have fought off snails, slugs, various insects and worms in your garden, then fireflies can lend a hand by helping to control these pests.

Fireflies create their “fire” by mixing oxygen with chemicals called luciferin and luciferase in their abdomen, which creates light without any heat. A candle flame of the same brightness is 80,000 times hotter than the glow of a firefly.

Long-term data on fireflies is scarce, but anecdotal reports and expert opinion suggest that, in recent decades, some populations worldwide have begun fading. Homeowners and gardeners can help fireflies at home by providing habitat, avoiding pesticides, and dimming lights. 

#1 Go wild. 

Replace lawns with native grasses or wildflower meadows and provide moist places (wetlands, moss, pond edges) where females can lay eggs. The Firefly Delight plant collection was curated for its ability to provide a welcoming environment to fireflies and add texture and color to your late summer garden. Be sure to provide a water source too, fireflies thrive around ponds, springs, and puddles.

#2 Leave the leaves

To create habitat for firefly larvae, leave the leaves! Firefly eggs hatch and larvae develop in rotten logs and leaf litter. Let fallen leaves, branches and other organic matter pile up in parts of your yard.

#3 Eliminate pesticides 

Practice organic gardening that does not rely on chemicals. Let fireflies help control your grubs, slugs and snails.

#4 Eliminate nonessential outdoor lighting 

Scientists suspect fireflies are harmed by light pollution, which disrupts the flashes the insects use to communicate. Dimmer lights may also enhance your experience of fireflies, forging brand new memories of summer’s magical nights. Use motion sensors and timers, dimmed as much as possible, only when and where needed. If you live near firefly habitat, turn off or shield outdoor lights during mating season. 

#5 Certify your Habitat 

Take your garden to the next level by applying to be a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat®. It’s easy, and if you have native plants, you’re nearly there.


Share our video or blog to spread awareness! Drop your firefly gardening tips in the comments below. 


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