BL Workshop

Make a firefly lantern

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.)

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 3: 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.

Comments about “Make a firefly lantern”

  1. Gilan says:

    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. Awesomegurl says:

    I love fireflies! So making this next summer!

  3. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

    cant do this where I live… too cold

  4. doodle0123 says:

    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. lulu says:

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

  6. Nicholas says:

    >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.

  7. weblo EOK says:

    it would take less than 30m

  8. zoro says:

    thats pritty cool!

  9. ecodude74 says:

    its hard to get this stuff

  10. dtlux says:

    I want to make this but I have to wait till next spring.

  11. scout says:

    its cool but it would take to loong to make

  12. A cow says:

    Where do you get the wires and led light?
    Also do the males just fly in and stay there if you use the led light or do you need to like run over and put them in?

    please reply

  13. SkyLarx1262 says:

    That is really sweet, except for 1 thing. Where are you going to get two six-foot lengths of insulated copper wire?

  14. Lone Wolf 75 says:


  15. Lycanthrope says:

    Good idea compared with using a net. I used to go firefly catching and half the fireflies I caught would fall out of the net and die.

  16. outdoor man says:

    Very smart i will make it

  17. jojo3698 says:

    man thats hard but cool anyway

  18. lighter says:

    it’s hard dude!!

  19. jayjay says:

    what if you capture real fireflies

  20. fisherman says:

    thats the hard way to do it

  21. GODZILLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Hey, this is COOL!!!!!

  22. Rocky says:


  23. Scoutlover155 says:

    I dont know what I would do without Boy’s Life!!!!

  24. Boy Scout says:

    Hey, BTSR in texas is a great place for fire fly catching during summer! I almost swollowed a couple ’cause they were swarming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :^)

  25. DingDong says:

    Sounds cool. But, wouldn’t the lantern act like a strobe light, seeing as how fireflies flash their lights rather than run them steadily? And 40 fireflies? Wouldn’t it take a long time to catch them?

  26. bee says:

    make a firefly lantern is cool

  27. AWESOME SCOUT1 says:


  28. Awesome scout1 says:

    Why can’t you just catch fireflies and stick them in a jar with air holes?

  29. me says:

    too bad there’s no fireflies where I live.

    Where do they live anyway?

  30. Nintentom says:

    Very awesome uber cool

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