Stewardship at Home
Creating Firefly Habitat
Creating a Firefly/Lightning Bug-friendly Habitat
Turn off outside lights at night.
Fireflies use their flashing lights to signal each other to attract mates or warn of danger. It is likely that human light pollution disrupt their flashes, making it harder for the flies to mate and breed. Turn off exterior lights and garden lights, and draw your blinds at night.
Logs and leaf litter are wonderful homes.
Firefly larvae grow in rotten logs and leaf litter in the forest canopy. To encourage firefly growth and foster wildlife habitat, plant trees and consider leaving some natural litter around for larvae to grow.
Create water features on your property.
Fireflies thrive around water – ponds, streams, rivers, marshy areas and even a small depression full of water are all good habitats for fireflies.
Avoid the use of pesticides.
It is believed that pesticides and weed killers have a negative effect on firefly populations.
Use natural fertilizers.
It is possible that chemical fertilizers may have a harmful effect on firefly populations as well, since many harmful chemicals in pesticides are also found in chemical fertilizers. Try and use natural fertilizers.
Do not over-mow your lawn.
Fireflies stay on the ground during the day and frequent mowing disturbs populations. If you feel that you need to keep your lawn mowed for aesthetic purposes, consider incorporating long grasses into your landscaping.
Fast growing native trees provide good habitat for fireflies and improves wildlife populations.
Talk to your neighbors.
You can create even more habitat for fireflies by enlisting your neighbors in your efforts. Every little bit counts and allow for some room for wildness on your property.
- Fireflies light up to attract mates and to communicate.
- Firefly lights are the most efficient lights in the world – 100 percent of the energy is emitted as light (an incandescent lightbulb only emits 10 percent of its energy as light and the rest as heat).
- Firefly eggs glow and respond to stimuli.
- Fireflies eat other fireflies (carnivorous). Some species the female flashes to attract a male – to eat it.
- They have short lifespans – one year.
- They are found on every continent besides Antarctica.
- They are medically and scientifically useful. The chemicals from fireflies are injected into diseased cells, where they can detect changes and study diseases, like cancer.
Photo By: C. Frank Starmer
Habitat Restoration Stewardship on a Smaller Scale Research at Duke Farms Built Environment Rutgers E-Stewards Wildlife Cams Blog
How is the game played?If using a handheld GPS device (such as a Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, etc.):
- Register for a free basic membership on geocaching.com.
- Visit the Hide & Seek a Cache page to locate a cache nearby.
- Select a cache to view its cache page which lists the cache description, GPS coordinates, and other instructions on how to find the cache.
- Load the coordinates into your GPS device and naviagate to the hidden cache.
- Sign the logbook inside the cache and log your visit online on geocaching.com.
- Download geocaching.com app from your app store (there is an Intro version which only allows you to navigate to 3 caches before it makes you upgrade and there is the full version which is $9.99).
- Log-in using your geocaching.com username or create a free geocaching.com username if you do not have one.
- Once logged in, press "Find Nearby Caches."
- Choose the appropriate cache from the list. The cache page should appear.
- Press "Navigate to Cache." A map should appear showing your location in relation to the cache location.
- Navigate to the cache and sign the logbook when you find it. Go back to the cache page and press "Post a Log/Field Note" to post a log online.
Duke Farms GeoTrail
The Duke Farms GeoTrail is a geocaching challenge consisting of 11 different caches placed around the property. It is a unique journey through a variety of native habitats and landscapes.
To complete the challenge you have to fill out the GeoTrail brochure and uncover the secret word, then present your completed brochure to the front desk staff in the Orientation Center to receive your commemorative token (GeoTrail brochures are available at the front desk in the Orientation Center).