You might have fond memories of catching lightning bugs in jars when you were a small child. Many people remember doing this with their parents or grandparents as a fun summer activity.
There are many people who also enjoy simply watching the lightning bugs due to how interesting they are to look at. Seeing them light up in unison can really be a sight to behold on a dark night.
You might want to attract lightning bugs to your property so that you can see them more often. Some people have lots of lightning bugs on their properties naturally, but you might need to figure out ways to make your property more interesting to these bugs.
Read on to learn how to attract lightning bugs to your yard. There are several different methods that should be able to help you get the results that you want.
1 – Keep Your Lawn a Bit Higher Than Usual
Did you know that cutting your grass short will drive off lightning bugs? When you set your lawnmower too low, you are going to be getting rid of the places where the lightning bugs rest during the day.
You know that lightning bugs are active at night, but it makes sense that they’d need to be somewhere during the day. Lightning bugs will generally hide in tall grass or nearby shrubs in the daytime.
Cutting your grass very low will ensure that your yard has fewer spots for lightning bugs to utilize during the day. You’ll see fewer lightning bugs if you continue to cut your lawn short.
Doing the opposite will make lightning bugs more likely to come to your yard. Try setting your lawnmower a bit higher so that the lightning bugs will have blades of grass to rest in during the day.
This does not mean that you have to avoid mowing your lawn, but you can try to keep the lawn a bit higher. Do what you can to make the yard attractive to the local lightning bug population.
2 – Use Natural Fertilizers
People who care about how their yard looks will often use different types of fertilizers. You might fertilize your lawn so that it can look as lush and beautiful as possible.
It’s also likely that you use fertilizer on certain plants to help them grow strong. This is fine, but it’s honestly going to be better for you to use natural fertilizers if your goal is to attract lightning bugs.
You might not know this, but chemical fertilizers can be bad for lightning bugs. They can be bad for many different types of insects, beetles, and arachnids in the area.
If you use chemical fertilizers on your lawn and your plants, then you’re likely harming the local fireflies. This means that you need to switch to using natural fertilizer options to ensure that you can enjoy seeing lightning bugs in your yard.
Some of the best natural fertilizers that you can use include manure and fish emulsion. Making this change will help you to see more lightning bugs than usual this summer.
3 – Plant Pine Trees
Planting pine trees will help out immensely when you’re trying to attract lightning bugs. You see, lightning bugs actually lay their eggs in the canopies of pine trees.
Lightning bug larvae thrive in pine trees because they have everything that they need. The larvae will grow on the pine needles, and you’ll see the lightning bug population increase over time.
This means that having more pine trees in your yard will make it more likely that lightning bugs will flourish on your property. When you’re adding pine trees to your yard, it’s going to be best to plant native pine trees.
Pine trees can add a bit of natural beauty to your property while also welcoming local lightning bugs. Lightning bugs will use pine trees as resting spots during the daytime.
Of course, you should ensure that you have room for pine trees before moving forward. If you have space in your yard for more trees, then adding some pine trees will make a huge difference.
4 – Plant Low-Growing Plants
You should also consider planting low-growing plants that the lightning bugs will be able to use. It’s going to help them out in several different ways.
Using certain plants as ground cover will help to keep the ground moist. It’ll ensure that there is a shady environment where slugs and worms will be able to thrive.
Lightning bugs eat these pests, and that means that having more of them around will be a good thing. The lightning bugs need to be able to eat so that they can stick around.
You can find many different types of ground cover plants to choose from. Many of them will look fantastic and you’ll be able to make your property look nicer while also helping the lightning bugs out.
5 – Eliminate Outdoor Lights
Did you know that outdoor lights aren’t going to be a good thing to have on when you’re worried about lightning bugs? Outdoor lightning often interferes with a lightning bug’s ability to keep predators at bay.
Lightning bugs use their glow for many different things. They use it to escape predators and they also use it to attract potential mates.
Knowing this, you can see why bright outdoor lights would be problematic. Lightning bugs need to be able to stand out by illuminating the area with their natural glow to do what they need to do.
If you want to make your yard more convenient and safe for lightning bugs, then you should ditch the outdoor lights. At the very least, you can turn the outdoor lights off unless you really need to use them.
Try to remember to turn your landscape lights, porch lights, and other types of outdoor lights off at night. Turn them on when you need to walk outside so that you can see what you’re doing, and then turn them back off after you’re done.
When you have the outdoor lighting turned off, it’ll be much easier to see and appreciate lightning bugs. If your goal is to catch or enjoy lightning bugs, then you should definitely know to keep outdoor lights off when it’s dark.
6 – Consider Adding a Water Feature
Another option that could work nicely involves adding a water feature to your property. Moisture helps to attract fireflies and this is why you see many of them in marshlands or near ponds.
Lightning bugs will live near water because it makes things more convenient for them. If you add a water feature to your property, then that should help to attract lightning bugs nicely.
There are many different types of water features that you could consider adding to your property. Some people will add fountains or small man-made ponds to their yards.
You’ll likely want to install something that is going to add to the beauty of your property. However, you could get good results by just placing a simple children’s pool as well.
All you really need to attract lightning bugs will be some type of water feature. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be.
Now you know that there are many changes that you can make that will make your yard more likely to attract lightning bugs. Lightning bugs can make your summer that much more memorable and kids love being able to catch them.
If you want to be able to create fun memories with your family, then it makes sense to try to attract lightning bugs to the yard. To see more fireflies than usual this summer, you should start cutting your grass a bit higher than usual so that the fireflies will have spots to rest during the daytime.
Stop using chemical fertilizers for your lawn and your plants, too. These can harm fireflies and it’s better to use natural fertilizers such as manure.
It’s also a wise idea to ensure that your yard has many native pine trees. Lightning bugs breed and lay eggs in the canopies of the pine trees.
Planting ground cover plants will help to guarantee that there will be more food for the lightning bugs to eat. Having low-growing plants keeps the ground shady and moist so that you’ll have more slugs and worms.
If you choose to install a water feature, that’ll make it even more likely that you’ll see many fireflies this summer. Lightning bugs live and mate near the water, and even a simple water feature will make a big difference.
Making all of these changes to your property might take a bit of effort. You’ll have to remember to do certain things that you might not be used to and you’ll have to shift the way that you approach certain aspects of landscaping.
It’s worth it when you really want to be able to enjoy fireflies on your property, though. Enjoy looking at the fireflies with your family this year now that you know what needs to be done to increase their numbers in your yard.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.