Attention all Crossville and area lightning bug collectors! The next and last chance to turn in your insects to help scientists will be on Friday evening, Aug. 3, from 7-7:30 p.m. at the Crossville Firehall on 406 Division St. In addition, this summer there will be one collection in Monterey on Friday afternoon, Aug. 3, from 5:45-6:15 p.m. at the Monterey Police Department on 302 E. Commercial Ave.

Scientists at the Promega Biosciences in San Luis Obispo, CA, are paying 38 cents per gram or $11 per ounce for a fresh supply of insects (approximately $1.55 per 100 bugs). The insects are used for testing food for public safety.

For any wishing to try their hand at helping science by collecting fireflies, the rules are simple but important:

•Catch the right bug — Bugs needed are the ones with the red head, black back and yellow tail. All others are worthless. Happily, the right bug is the one easiest to catch and is detected by its leisurely blinking pattern. Old-timers advise using a net to catch the bugs which come out best around twilight. Such a net can be made at home from such things as a coat hanger and a pillowcase or cheesecloth.

•Freeze the bugs alive the night they are caught. This preserves the fragile enzyme.

•Never let them thaw or get wet. If they thaw or get wet, they may become worthless. Keep them dry and frozen. A napkin in the bug container will help absorb condensation.

•Make an ice pack when delivering them. Once outside a freezer, it takes only five minutes for the bugs to thaw. So an ice pack is a must. It protects both the lightning bugs and the collector's "net gains."

•Only insects caught fresh this summer are good. Old bugs caught from a previous summer lose their enzyme activity and are worthless.

So have fun, help science, and earn money by collecting lightning bugs!

For further information or questions, please write Firefly Project, c/o 122 Emory Ln., Oak Ridge, TN 37830 or call 1-888-520-1272. The e-mail address is fireflyproject@yahoo.com.

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