COURTNEY McCLURE, for The Standard
UXBRIDGE: How much do you know about fireflies living in your area? If you enjoy watching fireflies on a summer evening, here are a few ways you can help protect them.
“The biggest threat to [fireflies] is not caring enough about what they need,” explained Ms. Rosato. “And so, taking the time to learn and trying to know better about their needs is the best way to start.”
“So, when you engage in the outdoors and [are] learning about these needs, you will discover for yourself fireflies really like long grasses and native plants and shrubs.” They also like to nest in moss-covered and moist areas.
Restoring and maintaining leaf litter is crucial for fireflies to continue their lifecycle. Areas in the ground or close to the ground help firefly larvae grow and prosper.
Growing fireflies can spend up to 2 years in the larvae stage, living in leaf litter or similar habitats. Providing fireflies with sufficient leaf litter or shrubs helps them stay protected during winter.
Explain the importance of fireflies to young children and teaching them how to properly take care of fireflies in their backyard or area. Fireflies feed on insect larvae, snails, slugs and occasionally on earthworms. Fireflies containing two rare chemicals, luciferin and luciferase. Which are being used in research on cancer, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and heart disease.
Fireflies also like dark areas, so it’s important to adjust the timing on your outdoor lights, or shut them off entirely.
The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority(LRSCA)’s role in helping fireflies includes inspiring people to care. “We protect what we love and cherish,” said Ms. Rosato.
She said so many people have these very memorable experiences watching fireflies. Whether it was at their cottage or in their backyard, they can honour their memories and work to protect these insects.
The LRSCA achieves their purpose through their education program, where they create opportunities for kids to take part and enjoy outdoor activities. According to Ms. Rosato, the LRSCA has over 10 thousand students involved in their educational programs. LSRCA has a number of programs, ranging from school programming, online learning and more. Visit lsrca.on.ca, to learn more about their programming and how you can protect your local wildlife.