Why Are There So Many Fireflies in CT + NY This Year?
I don't know if you have noticed or not, but this year, we seem to have a record number of fireflies in the area, more than I've seen in a long time.
Despite reports of a declining population of fireflies over the last decade -- firefly.org says that the firefly population has been dwindling due primarily to land development, the increased use of mosquito killing pesticides and light pollution -- now it seems that reports of their demise may have been a bit exaggerated. Fireflies are alive and well and seem to have taken over most of Connecticut and New York. Just go outside at dusk, and you'll see tons of them lighting up. So why the increased numbers, why are we seeing so many more in the area this year?
Here's a little background on the firefly. According to nationalgeographic.com, for the first two years of their life, most of the 2000 different species of fireflies live underground in a larvae state, and yes they still glow. While they are in the ground, constant temperatures, a good amount of rainfall and sunny days that warm up the ground increase the population of the things the larvae eat. They are classified as beetles, but just during the end part of their lives, when we see them the most. They emerge as adults for only a few weeks to mate and they do thrive on moisture.
Last fall, we had pretty wet conditions, a somewhat mild wet winter and a very wet spring -- all perfect ingredients for them to thrive. So it's likely that the increase in population is due to the wet conditions we have experienced over the past year.
No one really knows if the population has increased all that much since there's no firefly census, but we do know we have seen more this year in our region than we have in quite some time.
They won't be around for that long though. In some areas of the country, like in the south, the conditions are perfect for them for a good portion of the year. But for us here in Connecticut and New York, it's peak firefly season for just three or four weeks in late June into July. Enjoy them now before they disappear until next year.