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.
- You will need a notepad, torch for safe access and perhaps a companion!
- Choose an area that is unaffected by light pollution.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enter your findings on Living Record or directly to the National Glow-worm Survey online.
A female glow-worm amongst grass © Essex Wildlife Trust