How To Catch Fireflies

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This past holiday weekend, one Sonsi team member completed the first task in Sonsi’s Summer To Do List: catch fireflies.


As promised we would include info on how you can complete the activity in Sonsi’s Live Your Best Life Summer Series. Catching fireflies can be a great way to spend summer nights with your family or a unique  romantic evening,  so sit back, relax and get ready to catch lightning bugs!

As a child were you transfixed by the mysterious glow of a firefly’s tail? Did you want to capture them and keep them forever? Well you’re in luck this summer! Associate professor at the University of Missouri, Richard Houseman, explains to Mary Delach Leonard from the St. Louis Beacon that the wet and rainy weather over the last year may have helped to increase firefly populations. Follow these simple steps to catch some of these abundant beetles and make your childhood dream come true!

What you’ll need:

  • a jar with holes punched in the top
  • flashlight (LED flashlights are said to work better than battery powered)
  • net (optional)
  • wet paper towel

Setting the Stage: Fireflies are usually found in a marshy area or underneath tall trees. Try and find a place near you that’s highly populated with fireflies. Once you find this space, make it as dark as possible—you don’t want any light around except for a flashlight in hand.

Catching the Fireflies: In order to get closer to the fireflies, you should imitate them by shining your flashlight up and down (point it towards the sky and then down to the ground). Once you are close enough to catch the fireflies, do so using either a net or your hands. If you choose to use your hands, make sure that you cup them around the firefly without crushing it—fireflies are very fragile!

Taking Care of the Fireflies: Place the fireflies in a jar and puncture holes in the lid. If you want, put a wet paper towel in the jar to keep it humid and similar to the fireflies’ natural environment. Let the fireflies go after no more than a day or they will begin to die.

We want to know: as a kid, what did you call these glowing insects? Fireflies or Lightning bugs?


The Sonsi Team