Mexico’s magical firefly show

Visitors are flocking to the rural woodlands of central Mexico, hoping to bask in the glow of thousands of fireflies

Visit the forests of central Mexico at twilight during the summer months, and you’ll be in for quite the show.

A long-exposure photograph of fireflies swarming inside Piedra Canteada, a tourist camp cooperative near the town of Nanacamipla, Tlaxcala state, Mexico. | (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

It doesn’t last long, but the seasonal spectacle of thousands of fireflies frenetically glowing against the encroaching darkness will linger in one’s mind long after their light fades.

June to August is mating season for lightning bugs, which seek out wooded, humid areas in Mexico and other temperate regions. But for locals in Piedra Canteada, a rural woodland two hours from Mexico City, this natural light show has become a major tourism draw, turning around local conservation efforts, and breathing life back into the once-struggling economy.

Juan Guzman Guzman, 70, and a work crew drive to a site inside Piedra Canteada to clear brush and remove dead branches to prevent forest fires. | (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Piedra Canteada is a rural camp cooperative, owned and run by 42 local families, in the Nanacamilpa village in Tlaxcala, the country’s smallest state.

Typically, co-ops like these survive by selling logs from their trees. But humid and dry weather can easily — and unexpectedly — halt operations in the logging industry, leaving workers without a steady stream of income.

Finished lumber is stacked near Piedra Canteada’s sawmill. | (AP Photo/Rebecca…