Kids’ Krafts: Make a visor to attract fireflies

Posted July 25, 2011, at 1:05 p.m.
Make a frog visor that will attract fireflies.
Paul Tople | MCT
Make a frog visor that will attract fireflies.

What if frogs glowed in the dark like fireflies? Do you think the frog would be frightened of the tiny beetle?

Well if they aren’t, they should be.

Fireflies carry a poison that poses a threat to pets, especially lizards, birds and amphibians, including frogs.

Although their shining lights may be a beacon to hungry predators, the beetle carries a toxic chemical that is poisonous to certain animals.

It proves the proverb that all that glitters is not gold. Studies have shown that just one firefly contains enough poison to kill a lizard.

Fireflies, also called lightning bugs, attract mates with their glittery glow, created through a chemical process called bioluminescence. It also warns predators that the bugs taste bitter and to stay away — even if the toxins don’t kill them.

You can use glow-in-the-dark, or fluorescent-luminous paint to turn the tables on the lightning bugs. The chemical component of the paint is based on the phosphor pigment that can accumulate the energy from a light source, store it and give off light through a process called “photo-luminescence.”

I took a ready-made sun visor and red and white foam sheets to make a frog that will appear to be floating through the air after dark, the best time to hunt lightning bugs.

You can keep the bugs in a jar with holes in the lid; just remember to release the fireflies soon after capture so they aren’t harmed. The fluorescent paint and the visor are available at craft stores.

Supplies you will need:

  1. One ready-made sun visor
  2. Glow-in-the-dark paint
  3. Brush
  4. One sheet each white and red foam
  5. Scissors
  6. Glue
  7. Black marking pen

Cut two large ovals out of white craft foam for eyes. Draw a large, fat C-shape on the eyes with a black marker and set aside.

Cut a tongue shape from red foam. Draw a black line down the center of the tongue for definition.

Glue the eyes and the tongue onto the visor using the photo for placement and set aside until the glue dries.

Paint the eyes (except for the black iris) and the tongue with glow-in-the-dark paint.

Leave the visor in the sun for a while to absorb the sun’s energy, and wear it after dark to look like a really large frog floating through space — hopefully, you won’t scare the lightning bugs away.

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