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How to Attract Fireflies to Your Garden Party

How to Attract Fireflies to Your Garden Party

Twinkling fireflies have delighted generations, but recently the luminescent partygoers are low in attendance. Fear not, for you can be the backyard hero and bring back the firefly fest with a handful of hosting tricks. 

Step 1:  Fresh Digs

Everyone wants a cool place to hang out. Fireflies like pines in particular. You may have noticed pine trees struggling in the extreme summer heat. A few natives are holding up in higher temperatures include Eastern Red Cedar, Bald Cypress, Ash Juniper and Pinchot Juniper. Plant any of them for an inviting abode.

Step 2:  The Kids Table

Firefly guests will need a cozy nest for their offspring. Egg-laying spots are crucial for keeping the firefly family around. Fallen pine needles and leaf litter create an ideal habitat for firefly larvae. Native grasses and ferns also offer protection. Fireflies often lay eggs on decaying wood, and a log or brush pile helps rewild your yard in general.

Gracious Guest Glowworms

Larval fireflies have an appetite for pesky worms, snails, grubs, and slugs. Keep the little bug-killing squad healthy and robust by embracing a chemical-free landscape. Use diluted peppermint castile soap to treat for aphids, and neem oil only as needed to keep pests at bay without losing helpful insects.

Step 3:  Lights Off, Party On

There’s nothing worse than harsh lighting when you’re trying to create party vibes. Dim the lights and get the disco going. Artificial lighting competes with male fireflies’ mating dances, and some breeds won’t come to the dancefloor at all.

We can share space by lowering the intensity of garden lights, activating them only when we use the yard, connecting security lighting to motion sensors, or selecting places to leave dark. If you’ve seen fireflies gathering in a particular area, you can guess that’s their favorite haunt, and direct lights away from those spots.

Step 4:  Canapés Under the Canopy

It’s not a party without snacks! Fireflies love a colorful spread of native plants, including Aster, Buttonbush, Coneflower, Coreopsis, Daisies, Goldenrod and Rudbeckia.

Step 5:  Grass – What a Gas!

Fireflies enjoy perching on tall grasses, and mowing disturbs their good time. Plan to mow less frequently over the summer, or add a luxe lounge of Switchgrass, Muhly and Bluestem.

Step 6:  Make a Splash

Pool party! Fireflies live near water and moist grounds. A birdbath, pond, or water feature will do, and a simple solar powered fountain keeps mosquitos, those less considerate insect guests, away.

Now you’re ready to throw a dazzling party! By providing an enchanting mating habitat, creating cozy egg-laying spots, and embracing firefly larvae as your pest control assistants, you're well on your way to lighting up the night sky with their magical glow. Turn off the lights, and let the fireflies shine bright in your backyard extravaganza!