Local health journalist offers advice on creating firefly gardens

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PINE GROVE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Looking out to a deep, dark sky the only light is little fireflies glowing. Leah Zerbe, a local health journalist of Pine Grove, has tips on how to welcome that majestic scene to your backyard.

“Drop your leaf blower and step aside. They are noisy. They use a lot of gas and they put out a lot of emissions and it’s really detrimental to firefly populations,” said Zerbe.

The health journalist wrote the article, “5 Ways You Can Support the Firefly Population in Your Yard.” She has patches of tall grass on her farm which makes a huge difference for fireflies.

“Fireflies like to kind of rest on higher grasses, on the blades of those grasses. So when we are constantly mowing, it’s decimating the population,” said Zerbe.

Another trick is planting native plants. She has white pines on her farm.

“They create a canopy that allows a little bit of shade and it helps block out artificial light which helps fireflies,” said Zerbe.

It also creates a pine needle litter which supports their life cycle.

“Do we want a sterile yard? Or do we want to have a yard that supports life? Because ultimately, that will impact the whole entire food web which will help us be healthier as well,” said Zerbe.

Zerbe says the insect population has dropped 45 percent, worldwide, over the last few decades, but helping the fireflies will help other insects as well. Her article gained a lot of attraction with over 500 shares on Facebook, showing people’s interest in preserving a bug’s life.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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