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Use an LED Light to Make a Firefly Lantern

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


Want a natural nightlight? Try making a firefly lantern.


Step 1: Make a mesh container from a piece of fiberglass window screen. Roll it into a tube with overlapping ends. Staple the tube together leaving a two-inch opening to slip fireflies through. Cap off each end with a plastic lid and duct tape.


Step 2: To use a female decoy firefly to catch males, connect the leads from a green LED light to two six-foot lengths of insulated copper wire. Attach one of the wires to a 9-volt battery. To make your “female firefly” flash, touch the second wire to the battery. Keep the light six feet away from you. (Fireflies avoid humans.)


Step 3: To crack the fireflies’ code, watch a female in the grass answer a flying male’s signal. Note how long she waits before flashing a response. With your LED light inside an open container, mimic the female’s pattern.


Step 4: Put any males that arrive into your lantern. At least 40 fireflies per lantern should give you plenty of light. Release them, unharmed, the next day.

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6 Comments on Use an LED Light to Make a Firefly Lantern

  1. cool, but where I live you don’t need lights just wait till one flashes within 5 feet of you then walk over and scoop it with your hand. if you can’t find it it will probably flash again in a few seconds

  2. I love fireflies! So making this next summer!

  3. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // October 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm // Reply

    cant do this where I live… too cold

  4. doodle0123 // July 14, 2011 at 7:10 am // Reply

    This was a great project I did with a group of kids. I used green and yellow Christmas tree lights instead of the LED, which still worked well. Also, you only need a AA battery if you use the Christmas tree light. This might make finding supplies much easier.

  5. oh yea, and the led light can be stripped out of an electrical appliance that is no longer working. more recycling!

  6. >To crack the fireflies’ code, watch a female in the grass answer a flying male’s signal.

    Um, sure. If I could find a female in the grass, I doubt I’d be building firefly lanterns.

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