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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.)

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.

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10 Comments on Make a firefly lantern

  1. Awesome

  2. Scoutlover155 // September 21, 2008 at 8:00 am // Reply

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

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

  4. 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?

  5. make a firefly lantern is cool

  6. AWESOME SCOUT1 // August 13, 2008 at 11:27 am // Reply


  7. Awesome scout1 // August 13, 2008 at 11:27 am // Reply

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

  8. too bad there’s no fireflies where I live.

    Where do they live anyway?

  9. Very awesome uber cool

  10. cool

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