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

  1. it would take less than 30m

  2. thats pritty cool!

  3. its hard to get this stuff

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

  5. its cool but it would take to loong to make

  6. 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

  7. SkyLarx1262 // June 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm // Reply

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

  8. Lone Wolf 75 // April 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm // Reply


  9. Lycanthrope // March 16, 2010 at 6:35 am // Reply

    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.

  10. outdoor man // March 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm // Reply

    Very smart i will make it

  11. man thats hard but cool anyway

  12. it’s hard dude!!

  13. what if you capture real fireflies

  14. thats the hard way to do it

  15. GODZILLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! // December 16, 2008 at 4:28 pm // Reply

    Hey, this is COOL!!!!!

  16. Awesome

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

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

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

  19. 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?

  20. make a firefly lantern is cool

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


  22. 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?

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

    Where do they live anyway?

  24. Very awesome uber cool

  25. cool

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