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

  1. cool, but where I live you don’t need lights just wait till one flashes within 5 feet of you then walk over and scoop it with your hand. if you can’t find it it will probably flash again in a few seconds

  2. I love fireflies! So making this next summer!

  3. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // October 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm // Reply

    cant do this where I live… too cold

  4. doodle0123 // July 14, 2011 at 7:10 am // Reply

    This was a great project I did with a group of kids. I used green and yellow Christmas tree lights instead of the LED, which still worked well. Also, you only need a AA battery if you use the Christmas tree light. This might make finding supplies much easier.

  5. oh yea, and the led light can be stripped out of an electrical appliance that is no longer working. more recycling!

  6. >To crack the fireflies’ code, watch a female in the grass answer a flying male’s signal.

    Um, sure. If I could find a female in the grass, I doubt I’d be building firefly lanterns.

  7. it would take less than 30m

  8. thats pritty cool!

  9. its hard to get this stuff

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

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

  12. 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

  13. 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?

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


  15. 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.

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

    Very smart i will make it

  17. man thats hard but cool anyway

  18. it’s hard dude!!

  19. what if you capture real fireflies

  20. thats the hard way to do it

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

    Hey, this is COOL!!!!!

  22. Awesome

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

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

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

  25. 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?

  26. make a firefly lantern is cool

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


  28. 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?

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

    Where do they live anyway?

  30. Very awesome uber cool

  31. cool

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