Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lebanon area lightning bug collectors gather summer sum

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Watertown's Hall leads the way for second straight year

Responding to the call of science despite a difficult season, collectors in Lebanon and the surrounding area delivered 143 grams of lightning bugs for 2015.

Area collectors commented that while bugs may have come out in June, the hot, dry weather snuffed the season out early. Hot, dry weather has an adverse effect on the appearance of the bugs. Fireflies are weather-sensitive and do best in hot, humid, moist weather.

Leading the way among local collectors for the second consecutive year was Melanie Hall of Watertown. Even amid a difficult season for lightning bug-catching, she netted 143 grams and earned a check for over $73. In 2014, Hall captured first-place honors by scooping in 380 grams of lightning bugs to rake in a check for over $190.

In 2015, scientists paid 51 cents per gram, or $14.55 per ounce, which is approximately $2.05 for 100 average-sized fireflies. Scientists and technicians use material found in the insects as a tool in medical research and for public health safety testing of food.

While collections are held on a summer-by-summer basis, it is possible that scientists will need more supplies next summer. For more information or to be notified of a collection next year, contact the Firefly Project, c/o 122 Emory Lane, Oak Ridge TN, call (562) 536-3930 or e-mail

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