Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

This forum is for general Beardie discussions that do not fit within other specialized forums. Please use a forum specific to your issue, if one applies.

Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Requiemk626 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:21 pm

Hi everyone,

Every year I have at least one firefly that gets into my apartment despite me being careful to shut doors and windows. This summer we've already had three! I'm really worried that one of my two beardies is going to find one around the house before I can and eat it. I know people have suggested having activated charcoal around for emergencies, but I'd like to repel as many as possible BEFORE they get in. Like I mentioned before, I live in an apartment so I can't spread any pesticides. But is there anyone here who's had success with citronella plants or candles, eucalyptus or peppermint oil, geranium oil, or any other herbal pesticides? I've read that spiders dislike peppermint oil and will avoid it, and I know citronella oil (from lemongrass) will repel all the mosquito varieties. But will it repel fireflies too (even though they are beetles)? Every article I've come across in google is like "oh, the fireflies are so beautiful...here's what you can do to help their population grow!" :banghead:

Thank you so much for any advice anyone can give! :study: :blob5:
Punctus Contra Punctum. 3642571.
Requiemk626
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:17 am

Requiemk626 wrote:Hi everyone,

Every year I have at least one firefly that gets into my apartment despite me being careful to shut doors and windows. This summer we've already had three! I'm really worried that one of my two beardies is going to find one around the house before I can and eat it. I know people have suggested having activated charcoal around for emergencies, but I'd like to repel as many as possible BEFORE they get in. Like I mentioned before, I live in an apartment so I can't spread any pesticides. But is there anyone here who's had success with citronella plants or candles, eucalyptus or peppermint oil, geranium oil, or any other herbal pesticides? I've read that spiders dislike peppermint oil and will avoid it, and I know citronella oil (from lemongrass) will repel all the mosquito varieties. But will it repel fireflies too (even though they are beetles)? Every article I've come across in google is like "oh, the fireflies are so beautiful...here's what you can do to help their population grow!" :banghead:

Thank you so much for any advice anyone can give! :study: :blob5:


I'd avoid using pesticides (herbal or otherwise) as these WILL get onto the feeder insects and if they don't kill them outright, they will contaminate the insects you are feeding to your dragon.

You need to invest in flyscreens for the windows and entry door/s , and if a firefly manages to sneak in swat it immediately , I believe if ingested by a bearded dragon they are highly toxic.
Do a thorough sweep of the area the dragon gets access to when freeranging BEFORE letting the dragon out of it's tank.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : new rescues Gutzy (F) 27Sep19, juvenile Cheakie (M) 21Oct19
Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 10915
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Ellentomologist » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:59 am

Hiya,

Yeah, fireflies are very dangerous. Supposedly just one is enough to cause death due to lucibufagins which act like steroids, essentially. I like kingofnobby's suggestion of flyscreens... Might be the best you're going to do.

Best,
-Ellen
About me: Lab Manager in CDB studying for graduate school. Keep many invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians, but only one BD named Guacamole. HUGE DnD and tabletop RPG nerd. Sorry if I post the same info right after someone else does, I tend to open many tabs and not refresh.
Ellentomologist
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:06 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby DorgEndo » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:19 am

I have a problem with box elder bugs, which are beetles like fireflies. Replace or repair any seals around exterior doors and windows. Vinyl and caulk aren't too costly and go a long way. Check with your landlord?

Food grade diatomaceous earth along all windowsills and doorsteps (edit, on the outside, not inside of house). Will need to be replaced after heavy rainfall. This creates microscopic tears in the beetle exoskeleton and they die. They die fast. Box elder bugs crawling under my door (somehow) die before traveling 12 inches. Diatomaceous earth is my friend.

Always good to run the vacuum before letting your dragon roam. You can spot vacuum at doors and windows your beardie looks out of to remove any offending material that is there
User avatar
DorgEndo
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:51 am
Location: MN, USA

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:20 am

I'd follow the advice given above. In my apartment I run the vacuum during firefly and box elder season along window frames and door frames. I have sweeps installed on the bottom of the doors. Outside time is limited at the height of lightning bug season. Activated charcoal is nearby all the time. The mesh top goes back on the enclosure to keep bugs out.
Image
User avatar
CooperDragon
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 24687
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:41 am
Location: Iowa City, IA

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Aaradimian » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:34 am

I don’t have any advice on keeping them out of the house, but this might be good to have memorized. Prognosis seems bad, but fast action could at least give a chance to your little one should the worst happen.

https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/shelt ... is-lizards
User avatar
Aaradimian
Juvie Poster
 
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Requiemk626 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:42 pm

Thank you everyone for your advice!! I found a spray called "Green Man's Lemon Bomb" that is supposed to repel all sorts of bugs, including beetles. It's made up of different essential oils, including citronella, and is safe to spray outside and is non-toxic to any animals that might be wandering around outdoors. I rush ordered it, so it should be here soon. I'll let you guys know if it's a rip off or not. I'm planning on spraying that around the perimeter of my apartment (I'm on the first floor) on a regular basis until Fall hits. The only animals that are out there are wild birds. The beardies never go out there.

The diatomaceous earth sounds great! I might pick up some of that and sprinkle it around my doors and windows outside. Thank you for the recommendation!

I looked at all the windows from the outside, and there are definitely gaps where bugs could get in. I'm going to talk to my complex about it tomorrow when the office is open (and maybe go buy some caulk if they don't respond quick enough...).

I did some research last night on how plant based pesticides work (an essential oils sprayed indoors). Geraniol is the chemical in geranium oil that causes a neurotoxic reaction in bugs. Apparently eucalyptus is toxic, so I wouldn't recommend spraying that on anything you think your beardie might taste test while out of their cage. Tea tree oil in excess may cause severe neurological issues, especially in ball pythons. Here's a link to the case study I found from 2011:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5b9e/6 ... 033975.pdf

Lavender seems to be non-toxic and unpalatable to insects, so I think I'm going to make a dilute indoor house spray with that. I read that citronella works by masking odors that insects might follow to find food or other interesting resources, so I bought some lemongrass oil and might add that to my lavender spray; HOWEVER, I have not been able to find anything about interaction of citronella with reptiles. I'll need some sort of reference before I feel comfortable spraying it inside the house.
Punctus Contra Punctum. 3642571.
Requiemk626
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Requiemk626 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:43 pm

Oh god... I sprayed that stuff outside my screen door and windows, and even with everything closed up I can still smell it in the house. I regret everything :(((((((((((((((((((((((((
Punctus Contra Punctum. 3642571.
Requiemk626
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Aaradimian » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:01 am

Requiemk626 wrote:Oh god... I sprayed that stuff outside my screen door and windows, and even with everything closed up I can still smell it in the house. I regret everything :(((((((((((((((((((((((((


Yikes, I feel for ya! Geese are a problem in my area but not in my neighborhood, at least not until this past year when a pair tried to take up residence. I would chase them up & down the street like a nut, but they seemed to understand that I can't stand them and so would alight on my brand-new sod frequently & proceed to mow it down. I finally got sick of them & bought this $150+/gal liquid that is the flavor in 'grape' products like Kool-Aid and is a mild irritant to them. I sprayed it on my lawn, and, surprise, it smelled of Kool-Aid for the next week along with my entire garage and atrium. But, it got rid of the geese. Totally. Worth. It. Stupid geese...
User avatar
Aaradimian
Juvie Poster
 
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby DorgEndo » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:23 am

Requiemk626 wrote:Oh god... I sprayed that stuff outside my screen door and windows, and even with everything closed up I can still smell it in the house. I regret everything :(((((((((((((((((((((((((

Oh no...but maybe you can twist this around to your favor. The unacceptable gaps in your windows and doors are allowing offensive odors from outside into your residence. Just leave the part out about being the cause of the odor. The repairs to doors and windows need to be done more so than before

Diatomaceous earth has no odor in case you are wondering. Its very dry and sand or powderlike.
User avatar
DorgEndo
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:51 am
Location: MN, USA

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Requiemk626 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:40 pm

[quote="Aaradimian"]
Yikes, I feel for ya! Geese are a problem in my area but not in my neighborhood, at least not until this past year when a pair tried to take up residence. I would chase them up & down the street like a nut, but they seemed to understand that I can't stand them and so would alight on my brand-new sod frequently & proceed to mow it down. I finally got sick of them & bought this $150+/gal liquid that is the flavor in 'grape' products like Kool-Aid and is a mild irritant to them. I sprayed it on my lawn, and, surprise, it smelled of Kool-Aid for the next week along with my entire garage and atrium. But, it got rid of the geese. Totally. Worth. It. Stupid geese...[/quote]

Oh man, I feel for you! I assume your lawn eventually went back to normal? Yeah, I spent $40 dollars on this spray (and the rushed order) just to give myself a headache. The only ingredients in it are citronella, peppermint oil, soap, and water. I could have just taken what my mother taught me (soapy water is great to keep aphids off roses) and added in the research I already knew and came up with the same product! And I don't think the fireflies really cared. But at least I did discover that they really like to hide in the hydrangea bushes at the entrance to our apartment.
Punctus Contra Punctum. 3642571.
Requiemk626
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Requiemk626 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:44 pm

[quote="DorgEndo"]
Oh no...but maybe you can twist this around to your favor. The unacceptable gaps in your windows and doors are allowing offensive odors from outside into your residence. [i]Just leave the part out about being the cause of the odor.[/i] The repairs to doors and windows need to be done more so than before

Diatomaceous earth has no odor in case you are wondering. Its very dry and sand or powderlike.[/quote]

You know, that's an excellent idea! I think I will. And at this point I am sold on the diatomaceous earth. I think if problems persist I'll try that next. I also found that there's a gap in my screen door and the door jamb, and THAT's where at least some of the lightning bugs are coming in because I WATCHED one worming it's way inside!! I killed it, and then because I could think of nothing else, I used packing tape to cover up the hole. I won't be going out the back door anytime soon, but that's probably for the best.

I'm definitely going to start running the vacuum right before I put the beardies out too. Seems like just a good practice to adopt.

Thanks for all the advice!!
Punctus Contra Punctum. 3642571.
Requiemk626
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby krba201076 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:59 pm

I am doing to get some activated charcoal capsules just to be on the safe side. But how do you get the contents into the beardie? How do you make her eat it?
Checkout my new video on saving money on caring for your reptiles...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq9iVnvnaQM
User avatar
krba201076
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:50 pm

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby CooperDragon » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:16 am

You mix the charcoal well with water and offer it via syringe or dropper. I highly recommend one of Tracie's kits because the mixing is easy to do and the instructions are clear. It has been very helpful when I'm in a panic. https://bug-de-lite.com/Item/Emergency_Charcoal_Kit

I noticed a lightning bug in the house yesterday so Darwin's mesh tank lid had to go back on (I usually leave it off). It noticeably cuts down on the light and heat getting into the tank so I had to make some adjustments. I double checked the sweeps under each door to make sure they are secure. This one must have gotten in while one of the doors was open.
Image
User avatar
CooperDragon
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 24687
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:41 am
Location: Iowa City, IA

Re: Keeping away fireflies and lightning bugs

Postby Requiemk626 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:38 am

btw for the record I do already have fly screens. That is why I was so confused about how the bugs were getting in. We also don't open the windows or the back door often. My plan for spraying inside the house (which I've now put on hold, maybe permanently) would be to spray only the window and door frames, and only with something that is not toxic to the beardies or to their feeders. And I can't spray a lot anyway, since my husband is sensitive to strong smells. I'm not worried about contaminating the feeders because they are in a plastic container and don't get out around the house.

The repair guy came and realigned the screen on the backdoor, which I think will help a lot, but we've still found 2 more BIG lightning bugs in the house since then. This is with us not having any windows or doors open, being very careful to get in and out of the apartment quickly when we need to. I think they're crawling in under the screens, which are not fitted flush in the window frames. We'll have more repairs later in the week, which I hope help in the long term, though I do worry about bugs getting in while the repairs are happening if the guys need to have the windows or doors open. We always keep the screens on over the beardie tanks, but the way it slides on the top does leave some gaps that I'm sure a bug could crawl through if it wanted to.

For now my husband and I have been standing watch in the evenings from when the fireflies are most active (right before and during sunset) to when they start to settle down again (around 3 in the morning)... we're night people so this isn't so bad. I can't wait for firefly season to be over (should be soon). But in the meantime I'm thinking of replacing their tank covers. I'd have to rip off some of the plastic around the top of the tank that their current screens slide in to, but I think I could do that without damaging the tank, and I think there's a reptile store a ways away from me but that does sell a lot of different tanks and accessories. I'm going to see if they sell the type of tank topper screen that will give me better coverage.
Punctus Contra Punctum. 3642571.
Requiemk626
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:19 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users