There Have Been Way More Fireflies in Philly This Year

Whether you call them fireflies or lightning bugs, there's been a lot more of them this summer.

Thanks in part to a wet spring, there have been way more fireflies in Philadelphia this year. Neat! You’ll have to get a bigger jar to keep them in this year. (Make sure to poke holes in the top. Or, whatever, don’t they just die anyway when you do that? Yeah, wait: Don’t keep lightning bugs in a jar at all! Let them be!)

In addition to the humid weather this year, invertebrate scientist Karen Verderame says the city’s decision to use fewer pesticides have helped the firefly population. “People have been getting more connected to their environment, planting local species in their gardens, that could contribute,” she adds.

There’s lots more info about fireflies — the light-up feature evolved originally as a way to warn predators of a foul taste! — in the City Paper article. I’ve been friends with its author, Emily Guendelsberger, for years, and so I got this exclusive report on the article’s genesis after I had only read the title:

(Guendelsberger basically explains that in the start of the article, but I hadn’t read it yet — and, hey, I already took the screenshot.)

It’s nice that there has been an explosion of fireflies this year, as they’re disappearing overall due to development and light pollution. The prime season for lightning bugs is pretty much wrapped up, so get to a yard and watch them while you can.

[City Paper]