1989 - Volume #13, Issue #5, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Fireflies Worth MoneyKids of all ages ù from 4 to 94 -- are "cash cropping" fireflies foraSt. Louis firm that pays a penny apiece for"little `ol bugs of lightning."
"This year, we had about 500 members from 19 states in our Firefly Club," says Cathy, the "firefly lady" at Sigma Chemical. Sigma ships the lightning bugs to laboratories throughout the world who use the luminescent substances in their tail "lanterns" for everything from cancer and muscular dystrophy research to sewage treatment experiments.
Individual kids and adults, or groups and clubs looking for a possible fund-raising project, can get into "firefly farming" for a refundable investment of only $2.50. That's the deposit cost for a special-made aluminum container, with a built-in bug preservative, which Sigma supplies for collecting, storing and shipping up to 1,500 fireflies. You keep the can and collected bugs in the refrigerator, then mail in the can when it's full, or partially full. Sigma refunds the $2.50 can deposit when you mail it back. Sigma will also supply a bug-catching net for $2.50, which is also refunded if you mail the net back at the end of the season.
Cathy notes that the prime catching time (about 20 minutes) is at sunset during the months of June, July and August. "On a good night, you can catch upwards of 1,000 bugs."
To learn more about turning fireflies into money, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sigma Chemical Co., Box 145081, St. Louis, Mo. 63118 (ph 1 800 521-8956).
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