How Can I Make My Yard More Firefly-Friendly?

Here are a few simple ways to attract your local fireflies (from Silent Sparks Chapter 8):

Create an inviting habitat

  • Let the grass in part of your lawn grow longer by mowing it less frequently. This will help the soil hold more moisture.
  • Leave some leaf litter and woody debris in parts of your yard – this makes good habitat for larval fireflies.
  • Fireflies need moist places to lay their eggs, so preserve any wetlands, streams, or ponds in your neighborhood.

Bring back the night

  • When installing or re-thinking your outdoor lighting, use only what you need to get the job done.
  • Use Dark-Sky compliant, shielded lighting fixtures; these direct light downward, where it’s most useful for safety and security. Use bulbs as low-wattage as possible to provide just the light you need.
  • Turn off outdoor lights when they’re not needed, or put them on timers or motion sensors.

Reduce pesticide use

  • Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides like malathion and diazinon. Instead, choose horticultural oils or insecticidal bacteria like Bt that will kill specific target pests.
  • Get informed about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides. Consider using organic or least-toxic practices and products on your lawn and garden.
  • Only apply pesticides when problems arise, never routinely. Don’t use Weed & Feed or similar products – they might seem convenient, but they put pesticide when and where it isn’t needed.