Whether you grew up calling them "lightning bugs" or "fireflies" they're Indiana's state bug, and they're facing some trouble.

According to Firefly.org there's not one reason to blame, but researchers have  a few factors they believe are causing the dwindling firefly populations.  The main two are development and light pollution.  Development is causing the insects habitat to be lost.  From commercial and housing development, to fields and forests being paved over, they're losing their habitat.

It is also believed that light pollution is a major contributing factor in the fireflies struggle as well. Human light pollution is believed to interrupt firefly flash patterns.  This is a problem as scientists have observed that fireflies use their lights to communicate.  A disruption in communication, also makes it difficult for successful firefly mating, which means fewer larvae are born.

So what can we do?  Firefly.org have listed several ways we can help, the easiest being turn off your outside lights when it gets dark. They also recommend if you have trees in your yard to allow some natural litter to stick around. Adding water features to your landscape such as a small pond or divert a small stream to run through your property, as the water will attract the lightning bugs.  Pools do not work for this since there is chlorine. They also recommend avoiding pesticides, and lawn chemicals.

You can also help by donating.  If you want to help the firefly population, you can make a donation to firefly.org, here. 

I can't tell you how many nights as a kid I'd spend catching lightning bugs and putting them into a mason jar.  I remember asking my dad to help me poke holes in the lid so my lightning bugs could breathe.  I'd put grass and leaves in the jar (I guess I thought I was feeding them?) and catch as many lightning bugs as I could! I'd always let them out when it was time for bed, they weren't in there very long, I promise! These are the memories of lightning bugs I have as a kid. Even as an adult there's still something magical about looking out into a dark field and seeing the glow of lightning bugs all over the place.  That may be the most "Hoosier" thing I've ever said... but it's true!

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