Raking leaves can be quite a chore, especially considering that by removing leaves from your yard you’re actually hurting biodiversity and discouraging plant growth.
That’s why many gardeners recommend simply leaving leaves where they are, as they will naturally decompose into mulch. And one gardener recently pointed out another reason not to remove fallen leaves: Apparently, they attract fireflies.
TikToker Shelbizleee (@shelbizleee) shared a video with her followers in which she talked about doing research to find out how she could support her local firefly population. “The only thing that kept coming up was: Leave your yard alone,” Shelbizleee said. “Don’t rake the leaves, don’t put chemicals on it, don’t do all that weird stuff. Just leave your yard alone, and the fireflies will find you.”
@shelbizleee who doesn’t want to see more fireflies 💡 #leavetheleaves #lawnssuck #nativeyard #nativeplants #ecofriendly #sustainablelawncare ♬ original sound – Shelbizleee
“Who doesn’t want to see more fireflies,” Shelbizlee wrote in the caption.
Nonprofit environmental organization Conserving Carolina agrees. “Without undisturbed, moist leaf litter, fireflies won’t make it to adulthood,” the organization stated on its website. “If it’s not possible where you live to leave the leaf litter on the ground where it falls, rake it up and spread it around your trees, or put it in your native plant islands.”
How it’s helping
Though no firefly species are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the critters are at great risk because of air pollution, rising temperatures, habitat loss, and light pollution. According to one assessment, one in three firefly species in the United States and Canada may be threatened with extinction.
If you’re someone who enjoys raking leaves, you can always replace that activity with other outdoor projects. Studies have shown people who garden are more physically fit and healthier as well as less stressed and more optimistic.
Shelbizlee ended her video by saying: “While leaving the leaves is really important for all types of bugs and habitats and all those sort of things, the firefly is extra iconic. So, I hope that inspires you to leave the leaves this season.”
What everybody is saying
Shelbizleee’s TikTok followers were delighted by this lazy tip.
“Not me complaining about leaf blowers yesterday and then seeing this!! Fireflies are worth it,” one commenter wrote.
“So wait, my laziness is helpful? Hell yeah,” another wrote.
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