A dry summer night in June or July is an ideal time to search for glow-worms. They are thought to be rare, but they’re certainly an under-recorded species in the UK and a National Glow-worm Survey has been set up to improve knowledge of their distribution. If you are in a chalky/limestone area where there is unimproved grassland, set out and look for the bioluminescent females at night. It is worth visiting a known glow-worm site beforehand to get your eye in, but if you remember to look closely amongst the grass for a small light rather like a green LED on a hifi, you may be lucky.

  1. You will need a notepad, torch for safe access and perhaps a companion!
  2. Choose an area that is unaffected by light pollution.
  3. Identify one or more stretches of rough/unimproved vegetation at least 50m in length. Make two visits, one in June and one in July, on a dry calm night starting an hour after sunset.
  4. At the start of the visit, note down the date, time, location and habitat type. Look closely at grass, in hedges and on bare ground or stones for little green lights.
  5. Keep a tally of glow-worms seen. Use the maximum number across the two visits as a measure of glow-worm abundance, and record numbers annually at the same sites in the same way to monitor trends.
  6. Enter your findings on Living Record or directly to the National Glow-worm Survey online.

A female glow-worm amongst grass © Essex Wildlife Trust