General Question

ava's avatar

Are fireflys only in certain parts of the country?

Asked by ava (977points) July 30th, 2007

I am from Chicago and my favorite part f summer growing up was seeing fireflys. Now I live in LA, and don't see them anymore. Where do they come from?

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15 Answers

Jill_E's avatar

Great question. I grew up in the east New Jersey and Texas seeing those. The last time I saw them was in Hershey, PA camping with friends in the late 90s. There were so many of them, it was gorgeous! Now living in Northern California and miss those fireflies.

Would love to find out too where they are out west and introduce them to our toddler.

occ's avatar

I believe fireflies only exist east of the Rockies.

occ's avatar

oops--that must not be true if Jill E saw them in Texas. All I can say is I grew up with them in NY and have never seen them since moving to California. When I recently asked a friend this same quesiton he said they only exist east of the Rockies.

gailcalled's avatar

In rural upstate eastern NY, I have had them every evening for most of seem to have turned off. Friends see them in CT and MA, I know. When they (flies, not friends) are glowing, all the biting no-see-ums, mosquitoes, midges, black flies and other teeth w. wings are out there w. you in the dark. So sitting outside w/o citronella candles is possible for about 10 seconds. Screened-in porch is fun, however.

segdeha's avatar

FWIW, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I'd never seen a firefly before moving to Maryland.

pattyb's avatar

I would bet the west Nile scare of the past few years and the chemical spraying here in the northeast has cut down on some insect populations. I used to see much more years ago. (where are all the noisey secadas that they said were about to swarm). Makes you think.

Abby's avatar

They're in the midwest, Maryland, and Washington, DC, too. But definitely not CA as others have said. I don't really know why, though. Great question!

gailcalled's avatar

Update. It has been raining south of Albany, NY for the past week at night. This evening it is clearish (Jupiter and Arcturus visible) and the fireflies are no longer flashing.

"If you live in the United States, west of about the middle of Kansas, you are not apt to have the flashing type of fireflies in your area. Although some isolated sightings of luminous fireflies have been reported from time to time from regions of the western U.S., fireflies that glow are typically not found west of Kansas. The reason for this phenomenon is not known."

gooch's avatar

I used to see them all the time in Louisiana now I hardly ever see them anymore I think spraying has killed them off.

bob's avatar

This is one of the great sadnesses of summer in Seattle.

breedmitch's avatar

to occ: Texas is east of the rockies!

A few months ago (at the beginning of summer) i saw fireflies in a small cemetery in Manhattan's East Village. It was magical. I grew up with them in Texas (east of the rockies) but never thought I'd see them in NYC.

occ's avatar

@breedmitch: Oh my--you are right--how embarassing! I should have realized that. I grew up in NYC, which I know is no excuse, but for most of my life anything west of the Hudson river might as well have been the Rockies...
as a recent California transplant I am trying to change my ways!

gailcalled's avatar

@occ; remember the famous 3/29/1976 Saul Steinberg New Yorker Magazine cover of W. side of Manahattan, then Hudson River, then a smallish Jersey (bordered by Canada and Mexico) and then the Pacific Ocean? A classic POV of New Yorkers.

gailcalled's avatar

I saw one firefly this evening...very sad. NY farmland, second growth woods and old fields.

Poser's avatar

I was just asking someone this question the other day. I used to see them in North Texas and Central Kansas growing up. Haven’t seen them since I moved to N. Florida. All we have here are the Lovebugs. Which actually look a lot like two fireflies stuck together. But they don’t glow.

Well, not like that anyway.

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