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Friday, July 21, 2017

How long do fireflies live and where are they during the day?

One of our younger patrons wondered where fireflies spent most of their time, if she only saw them at night. The National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders told us that fireflies are nocturnal and enjoy moist places, with some living under bark, decaying plants, or other debris. The website added that they also like long grass: it hides them during the day, but at night, they can climb up and get a good vantage point to signal with their lights.

They mainly use their lights to attract mates, though the writers at hypothesize that they may also use them to warn away predators. Different species have different flashing patterns. Some female fireflies will mimic the patterns of other species to lure the males, which they will eat. However, some species of adult fireflies have not been observed eating at all – they likely only live long enough to lay eggs.

According to the basic lifecycle on, a firefly spends more of its life in the larva stage – about one to two years. The larvae are carnivorous, feeding on snails and worms, and also often light up. They spend three weeks as pupas before maturing into adult fireflies, which only live for about a month. If they’re successful, the fireflies lay eggs which take approximately three weeks to hatch.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Is there anything I can do for my cracking fingernails?

Although we are not dermatologists here at the library, we found some tips in the book A Complete Guide to Manicure and Pedicure by Leigh Toselli and the Globe and Mail article “Why do my fingernails peel and crack?” by Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe that our patron may be able to use.

Both sources suggest protecting nails from water and harsh chemicals – wearing gloves while cleaning and washing the dishes, for instance, and using a non-acetone nail polish remover when necessary. Commercial nail oils and strengthening formulas are available, but we cannot vouch for their efficacy.  Toseli also suggests using almond oil or even just a regular hand cream or lotion to keep nails moisturized.

According to Toseli and Wijayasinghe, calcium and vitamins A, D, and B12 are important for healthy nails. Calcium can be found in bitter greens, tofu, dairy, and nuts; vitamin A is in fish, liver, egg yolk, milk, and many vegetables; vitamin B12 is also in eggs and dairy, and vitamin D can be absorbed from a few minutes of sunlight or found in fish, liver, and milk.

Nails grow slowly, so it may take up to six months for them to show significant improvement.