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Bring Back the Pollinators - May

1 May 2023 3:57 PM | Megan Shellman-Rickard (Administrator)

By: Marikay Shellman, BPW Colorado Virtual Member

We are grateful to Candace Fallon, Senior Conservation Biologist Xerces Society, for her excellent Earth Day presentation, Fireflies: Conserving the Jewels of the Night.  With so much information in her presentation, I thought I would review some of the most important facts for NFBPWC members to remember and to act upon. 

Fireflies are in trouble, threatened by 6 negative impacts:

  • Habitat Loss,
  • Light Pollution,
  • Pesticide Use,
  • Degradation of Water Quality,
  • Invasive Species, and
  • Climate Change.

The most important thing we can do to help these magical insects is to give Fireflies shelter that is free from pesticides, mowing, and trampling.  They need moisture, clean fresh water with native vegetation in which they can burrow, and eat snails, slugs, and earthworms.  Don’t over tidy in your rush for Spring clean-up.

Those leaves that you left last fall need to stay on the ground providing moisture in the soil & shelter for insects.  Rather than using bark mulch, use those leaves as mulch.  Don’t rake or leaf blow.  Refrain from mowing as female fireflies spend most of their time on the ground first as larvae & then laying eggs and mower blades are devastating.  Males use taller grasses and dried plant forbs as resting places.  Unkempt areas in your yard and garden, downed logs & leaf litter are ideal. 

As you head to your nursery, ask for pesticide-free native plants, including asters, goldenrods, & milkweed.  Native brushy shrubs will add diversity in heights for perches for fireflies. 

We all need to reduce night light pollution.  Fireflies and many other insects and birds need dark skies.  Limit your outdoor lighting to areas only necessary like sidewalks & patios.  Where you must have lighting, use dim red lights and motion detectors.  Join International Dark-Sky Association.

What we can all do is advocate and educate.


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