Catching lightning bugs with kimmy again.
How to Catch Lightning Bugs
There’s no better activity for a warm summer night than coaxing a tiny horde of lightning bugs (also called fireflies) into a jar. With a few items from around the house and the help of a friend or parent, you can catch them and enjoy their light up close.
Use an old jar or clear container to house your bugs.Poke holes in the top of the container for ventilation so your lightning bugs can get air. Place some damp leaves or a moist paper towel in your container to keep the air inside humid. Lightning bugs can breathe easier this way.
- Don’t make the ventilation holes too large or your lightning bugs may become trapped while trying to escape. Holes that are about the diameter of pencil lead are ideal.
- A piece of breathable fabric or mesh sealed with a rubber band makes a good lid too.
Get a bug catching net.If you don't have one already, bug catching nets are usually easy to find at pet supply stores. You can also make one using a wire hanger, a stick, and some netting (old pantyhose or cheesecloth works best).
Turn off exterior lights.If there are bright lights around your home or near the area you plan to hunt for lightning bugs, turn them off or go somewhere a little darker. Artificial light can scare off lightning bugs and make them harder to spot.
Find a friend.It’s not easy to catch lightning bugs alone. Have a friend keep your jar at the ready while you hunt for bugs with the net. After you've caught a few, trade places and let your partner have a turn with the net.
Hunting for the Bugs
Hunt for lightning bugs at the edges of ponds or under low-hanging branches.Sometimes you won’t need to go farther than your porch! Just follow their flashing lights.
- Lightning bugs are active at dusk and usually stop shining as the night gets darker. For best results, hunt for them in the evening just as the sun is setting.
Shine your flashlight to mimic lightning bugs.You can attract lightning bugs by imitating their light patterns. Use a small flashlight (LED works best) to repeat a lightning bug’s flashing rhythms. Never shine your light directly at the lightning bugs or they’ll get scared and fly away.
- Use a blue light if you have one. You can also put a piece of blue paper over your flashlight to create a blue glow. Scientists suspect that lightning bugs interpret blue light in a special way. Using blue light doesn’t confuse their flash patterns and makes them easier to attract.
Get ready to use your net.Once you’re close enough to the lightning bugs, gently sweep your net back and forth in their direction until you’ve caught a few. Be patient, it might take you a little while.
- If you're not squeamish about handling bugs, you can catch them with your hands. Be careful not to injure them!
Put the captured bugs in the jar.Gently coax the lightning bugs into the jar and close the lid. It’s OK if you lose a few.
Let your lightning bugs go.While lightning bugs can survive and reproduce in captivity, it’s always best to release them within a day after capture. Keeping them overnight and releasing them the next evening is a good way to make sure they’ll continue to light up the night for others.
- Make sure to release your lightning bugs at night. They’re most active during this time and are more likely to avoid predators.
- Get permission from your parents before you do this project.
- Although fireflies are found on most continents, you should check to see if they are common in your area before you look for them.
Video: Catching Lightning Bugs
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