Monday, July 27, 2009

Firefly Fun and Craft

There’s nothing that says a summer night like the blinking lights of fireflies in the darkness. When people think of summertime activities they did as children, odds are they caught lightning bugs or fireflies. This morning on WUSA9 News Now Peggy Fox and Liz McConville (our Resource Editor) talked about fireflies and how much fun it is to catch them. Peggy’s children were on to show how to make a firefly jar.

What are fireflies?

Something that people may not know is that fireflies are actually beetles. There are about 2,000 species of fireflies in the world and tend to live in a variety of warm and mostly humid environments. However they can be found in drier areas but they tend to be found around damp areas.

What makes fireflies glow?

They have special organs under their abdomens. When the fireflies take in oxygen inside special cells, it combines with a substance called luciferin that produces the light with almost no heat. This light is used mostly to attract mates but can also be used to communicate with each other, defend territory and warn predators.

What’s the best way to catch a firefly?

Fireflies can be found during summer months in fields or forests or even in your yard. When you want to catch them, make sure to turn off your exterior house lights since that can distract them. You can use a flashlight to mimic their light patterns. Use a net if you have one, you can catch them in your hands also but be very careful since fireflies are very fragile.

What we’re making today are the containers you put the fireflies in. It can be any kind of container but a clear plastic or glass jar lets you see what you catch. You can decorate your jar with paint pens, stickers and all sorts of art supplies.

Make sure the top of the jar is well ventilated and place a damp paper towel inside the jar to keep the air humid. This way, they will be able to breathe and won’t dry out. Once caught, don’t keep them for longer than two days and let them go at night. Treat the fireflies carefully, their numbers are dwindling due to various causes like light pollution.

To find out more about fireflies check out: or

Hope you are having a great summer. If you have other summer activities that are fun for kids, send them along. We will share them with other moms.

Happy Parenting, Brenda

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