Illuminating the Night: Preparing for Next Year’s Firefly Season in New York
Summer may be winding down (gag), and firefly season is all but over (double gag). But did you know that you can prepare for a robust firefly season next year--now? Why yes, you can.
First of all, firefly season is usually early May through early August, depending on how soon or late it gets warm in your area. And since fall is knocking at our proverbial door, now is as good a time as any to prepare for a robust firefly season next summer. Here are some tips to make it happen.
According to firefly.org, here's what you can do to not only make fireflies welcome (they help with slug control, btw), but also help them thrive:
- "Don’t rake leaves and put them on the curb. You are raking up firefly larvae and throwing them away.
- Collect bags of leaves to make “Bag Compost”. Collect 5-15 bags.
- Wet bags down in a shady lawn area. Keep moist/wet for 3-6 months or up to a year.
- Bags will attract snails/slugs. This is food for growing fireflies.
- In Spring, put bag compost in your garden. Put it in mounds and till it into your soil.
- Repeat each year. It might take as long as 5 years, or as quick as that same year, to get fireflies in your garden."
Firefly.org suggests these other ways to help attract fireflies:
- "Assess your soil health.
- If you have poor soil, introduce nutrients such as bag compost, leaves, and organic matter.
- Till your soil or use a no-till technique such as using a broadfork to open soils. This is especially important if working in a native area to avoid disruption of habitat. Tilling or using a broadfork to loosen soil adds some aeration and prevents soil from compacting.
- Avoid use of broad spectrum pesticides, especially lawn chemicals.
- Turn off outside lights and advocate for local “Dark Skies” policies to control light pollution.
- Buy land to protect species.
- Let log and leaf litter accumulate. Segment an area of your land/yard to remain in a natural state.
- Plant trees and native grasses. Grasses and forbs help retain soil moisture.
- Don’t over-mow your lawn."
Here's to a gorgeous firefly season next summer!