When Bugs Want to Mate, Hit the Lights

It's the polite thing to do for bugs whose mating patterns are threatened by light pollution.

We've all stood a little dumbfounded watching moths in our home hit themselves against a lamp or light bulb over and over. But moths aren't the only insects that have a problematic relationship with artificial light. Everyone's favorite, blinking beetle—the firefly—has also been affected by the luminous gleam of cities that never sleep: Light pollution is outshining their carefully choreographed luminous mating signals, reports the New York Times.

It's bad enough that many of us aren't able to see stars in the sky; now we're seeing less and less of these glimmering mainstays of childhood summers, too. But it's also worth noting that light pollution is detrimental to other species as well: light reflected by human-made surfaces like glass, pavement and more can fool dragonflies, who are drawn to those surfaces expecting to lay their eggs in water (not to mention the thousands of birds trapped in the 9/11 memorial lights each year).

So, what's one to do? Unfortunately, there's not much more you can do than limit your nighttime light use and pull the curtains. So let the fireflies do their dance in the dark–they could use some privacy, anyway.

Read more on The New York Times.