Magical Fireflies Could Soon be ‘Endangered’ in New York State
This is startling news. I can't imagine not watching thousands of fireflies dancing summer nights away, can you? Nature's fireworks are disappearing at an alarming rate in New York due to several factors.
As construction continues to expand and build into rural areas, the lightning bugs or fireflies are at risk of dying out in the U.S. New studies reveal that 11% are threatened with extinction, 2% are near threatened, 33% are categorized as concerning reports Mongabay. At this rate, will there be any left for our grandchildren to watch in the wild? That's awful to contemplate, isn't it?
Habitat loss is the leading cause of the decline. They suffering because they need certain environmental conditions to complete their life cycle.
I do love my outdoor twinkle lights but not at the expense of fireflies. Yes, those delicate outdoor lights made to replicate fireflies are actually the second most serious threat to them as it causes light pollution. Artificial lights make it impossible for about 80% of the North American population to see the Milky Way from where they live.
The rise of artificial sky glow affects many species of animals, including fireflies, of which three-quarters are nocturnal and rely on their flashing to attract mates and deter predators. Some species require complete darkness for mating to occur and are particularly sensitive to light pollution. [Mongabay]
Fireflies need food sources like snails and slugs, plenty of leaf litter, underground burrows, clean water, diverse native vegetation, and dark nights. Mongabay says high-quality habitat is critical for the conservation of fireflies.
How To Help
- Turn off outside lights at night.
- Let logs and natural forest canopy litter accumulate.
- Create water features in your landscape.
- Avoid the use of pesticides, especially lawn chemicals.
- Use natural fertilizers.
- Don't over-mow your lawn.
- Plant native trees.
The best thing you can do to support fireflies is to stop using lawn chemicals and broad-spectrum pesticides. Firefly larvae eat other undesirable insects, so they are nature's natural pest control. There is much more information about disappearing fireflies and what we can do to help. Just go to your favorite resource and search it to do your part.
Did you know fireflies are not flies at all but beetles? Yes, they're found on every continent except Antarctica. The firefly family includes the popular blinking types, glowworms, and daytime dark fireflies, which communicate without blinking. The U.S. has about 114 flashing fireflies species, 24 glowworms, and 30 daytime dark flies. Would you please do what you can to save them?