Sunday, hubby and I went to my parents' house for dinner. The appearance of a lone firefly at dusk precipitated a crisis as we began to discuss fireflies (or lightning bugs in the South). Hubby grew up in upstate NY. As a kid, he remembered catching jars of fireflies and being fascinated with them.
I remember the same as a kid growing up in the South. The field beside our house would be lit up like a small city with fireflies. I would stand and watch, along with my brothers, fascinated. Yes, we caught them in jars and tried to keep them. I think any kid who kept a firefly overnight knows they don't last in a jar. *sigh*
So where are they now? Why do you only see one every now and then? My house backs up to good ol' Alabama woodland. I stood last night after we came home, waiting to see the woods light up. I saw ONE.
Do you think our perceptions as kids were skewed, that we only thought there were tons of them? Or do you think our modern environment has done something? The chemicals we use on our yards, the sprays for mosquitoes, the proliferation of chemical environmental control in our homes?
I just don't know. I tried looking it up and got a variety of answers. 1) Mosquito chemicals are specific to mosquitoes. 2) Firefly habitats are disappearing as man encroaches. 3) Dry seasons aren't conducive to firefly life cycles. You need rain and moist vegetation for fireflies to breed.
I don't know, but it feels like a magical thing, especially for children, has disappeared from our lives. Do you remember fireflies? Did you grow up seeing millions of them light the night sky? Or did you grow up without them? If you remember them in the thousands and millions, do you ever wonder what happened to them?
I don’t ever remember having them as a kid in western PA, but I do remember them in much greater numbers in New York City, visiting my grandparents.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t just a memory, either. In much more recent years I can recall having them in quantities greater than one in Virginia when visiting there, and also seeing them in mid-Alabama a few years ago at training. In contrast I can’t remember seeing them when I was there last summer.
I was just thinking about this the other day because I’ve seen only two fireflies in about ten years now and there use to be so many. I’ve actually moved closer to the bush so you’d think there would have been more than where I’d lived previously but they all seem to have disappeared. I think the major reason is the drought we seem to be having, if fireflies like a moist climate well they’re not going to have much luck at the moment:(
Hope the writing’s going well.
I think its too early for them yet. I saw about 10 at LJs house last night. There will be more, soon. I’m sure last year’s drought didn’t help, though.
I love fireflies. They’re my favorite thing about Alabama, actually. We don’t have them out west.
Odd, Mark. I’d have thought you’d have then in PA. According to my research, they aren’t found west of about Kansas, but they are found on every continent except Antarctica.
Hi, Nikki! The writing is zipping along and I barely know whether I’m coming or going. Hope to finish this book very soon!
Maybe the drought is the reason for less fireflies. You could be right. The article I read said they like moist places to breed. So maybe climate change is the culprit.
Oooh, 10 at LJ’s house? That’s pretty good. I saw one in my woods. I swear, when I was a kid they lit up the fields. I’m not misremembering this. I’m gonna ask my brother when I see him next month.
Hopefully all the rain we had this spring will produce more fireflies. 🙂
I’ve been seeing a lot of them in my backyard here in Central Texas. I don’t recall ever seeing them in Montgomery.
They’ve been a real treat, because I can’t recall seeing them since I was a kid. It’s possible I just wasn’t paying attention for 30+ years…
I don’t know Lynn.. I used to see them in Salt Lake City–small numbers, but more than one or two. But not in the desert or anywhere else I have been in the last fifteen years.