Study: Fireflies are Facing Extinction Thanks to Light Pollution, Habitat Loss and Pesticides

February 4, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Artificial lights are pushing fireflies to the brink of extinction, a new study finds

You may have noticed fireflies don’t light up your yard at night like they used.

A new study warns that their lights could go out for good, thanks to habitat loss, artificial light and pesticides.

For the study, scientists surveyed firefly populations around the world and were shocked by what they found.

They’re calling on governments around the world to provide habitat (basically undeveloped land), control light pollution, and reduce pesticide use.

While habitat loss and pesticides were obvious culprits, the researchers were most surprised about the effect of artificial light on the little “lightening bugs.”

Artificial light includes both street lights, porch lights, commercial lights and “skyglow,” a more diffuse illumination around urban centers that can be brighter than a full moon.
“In addition to disrupting natural biorhythms — including our own — light pollution really messes up firefly mating rituals,” biologist and study author Avalon Owens said in a press release.

Many fireflies rely on their own bioluminescence to find and attract mates. Too much artificial light can interfere with this process.

About a quarter of all land on the planet is now artificially lit up at night, the study found.

And the global transition to the extra bright, blue light of  LEDs is making matters even worse, Owens said.

RELATED: The Dark Side of LED Lighting

Here are detailed instructions on How to Bring Fireflies Back to Your Yard, which mainly involve letting it grow a bit wild.

And here are some incandescent bulbs, which won’t scare the fireflies away so much: