How A Basic Water Feature Can Make Your Backyard Glow On Summer Nights

Do you love the way the night sky looks when it's clear and all the stars are sparkling above you? What if you could bring those stars down into your yard and surround yourself with them on a warm summer evening? If you're familiar with lightning bugs, or fireflies, then you know just how whimsical they can be when they visit your garden. If you've been wanting to bring more of these little illuminators out, you only need to consider adding a basic water feature that will attract them during the warmer months. Like many other insects, fireflies are drawn in by moisture, which is why they are common in humid regions. They make their homes near standing water sources, mating and thriving there, so it makes sense that they gravitate toward a yard that features a pond or pool.

While fireflies are awesome to watch as they dance around in the darkness to a song humans can't hear, there is more to their light than just the aesthetic. These bugs use their glowing abdomens to signal mates and communicate. To illuminate this part of their body, they use luciferase and luciferin, a chemical and an enzyme, as well as ATP which gets converted into energy, producing light. Most comfortable in Temperate zones, they like gardens and grassy areas where they can find pollen and nectar, as well as snails and worms for the larvae. As long as you can offer moisture and food, these bugs should come.

Bring lightning bugs with ponds and pools

If you've been trying to bring in more lightening bugs with little success, look at areas in your yard where you can incorporate a water source. Fireflies prefer standing water, since they frequent marshes, ponds, and vernal pools. In most homes, a small pond or pool will fit better, and a pool would be fairly easy to install should you decide to get one. Ponds will require more work, and need filters, water agitators, liners, pumps, and an outlet, since these all help to prevent the water from getting too dirty. These all help filter the interior, too; otherwise you can end up with algae and detritus that will ruin your pond. Smaller setups can start around $800, so it's an investment and will require some effort, but if you have the time and money, it could be a great addition to your yard.

Wading pools or mini garden water features can also attract lightning bugs, and are a simpler, less expensive alternative to ponds. Standard blue children's pools or large garden pots can easily be transformed into an aesthetically pleasing exterior decor piece. You can wrap the outer portion of the plastic in burlap to create a more "outdoor" friendly design, using a sodering iron to create holes in both the fabric and the plastic before sliding zip ties through to secure the material. Add rocks and fake plants in and around the pool to create a little oasis that will also attract lightning bugs.

Keep other pests away with these tricks

Because standing water also attracts pests like mosquitos, it's important to take this into consideration when setting up your source. While you want fireflies to use it, you don't want other insects hanging around. Tips for keeping mosquitos out of your backyard water features include adding a mosquito dunk to repel these annoying interlopers, while still allowing your lightning bugs to flourish. Changing the water in your pool once every three days will also help rid the water of any mosquito larva that has been left behind.

To help fireflies thrive, you can also leave old logs around the yard, as they like to use these to protect their own larvae. Leaves and other natural detritus provide inviting spaces for your lightning bugs to lay and hatch their young and hang out during the day. Hide areas of your backyard with a DIY trellis, keeping all your firefly items behind that or even bushes and plants so that your yard won't look messy, but so that these visitors have a respite besides the water source you made for them!