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Farmers' Almanac: Are Fireflies Disappearing?

Farmers' Almanac: Are Fireflies Disappearing?

Photo by terry priest on Flickr.

About 200 species of fireflies—also known as lightning bugs—are found in the United States, including a famous one in Appalachia. The synchronous glow of Photinus carolinus has become a tourist attraction in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But, in many place, these charming insects are now threatened.

Many of us have great memories of watching and catching fireflies on warm summer nights. Remember sitting out on the patio and watching them light up the back yard? One would call, and another would answer, all via light. But lately, especially here in Maine, you may have noticed the numbers are declining. You’ll maybe see one or two. Are fireflies disappearing? Will the magic they bring to our warm evenings soon be gone forever?

Turns out, firefly numbers are decreasing all over the country and all over the world. According to Ben Pfeiffer of, most of us are seeing a decline in numbers of the Big Dipper firefly (Photinus pyralis) due to several factors: light pollution, pesticide use, and loss of habitat from development.

Fireflies are picky about where they live and many are not able to recover when their habitats are destroyed or rearranged. So what can you do to help fireflies make a comeback?

Help Fireflies Make A Comeback
Here are a few things you can do to help fireflies in your area...


Story by Susan Higgins