A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fireflies Light up the Night

Do you remember the good old days, when we got our jars ready...holes punched in the top...and out we would go at dusk...to catch fireflies? It was such a fun thing to do. A simple thing that didn't cost a penny. It seemed that for a short time...our yard was full of them. We would chase them till we were out of breath. I lived in a development called Sunset Park which was built after WW ll. It was a neighborhood full of kids. We had so much fun in the summer time. Swimming, building forts (yes I built forts just like the boys) catching grasshoppers chipmunks and salamanders, but the most fun of all was catching these fireflies. When I married and had my own kids...they did the same. We would catch them and they could keep the jar in their room to light up the night. My kids were always asking for a jar, so they could poke holes in the top and collect some type of critter. We kept the peanut butter and Welch's jelly industry going. The kids had cocoons that opened during the night and the butterfly would make noises fluttering against the foil on top of the jar. I have heard that people don't see them much anymore. You'd never know that in our neighborhood. Three nights ago they started flashing...last night as we sat on the porch watching these little insects...I thought...where's my empty jar? Maybe I could catch a few!

Here's some info from the internet.

I got a kick out of this info....The males are the ones who flash...wouldn't you know it? The boys are out lighting up the night,while the ladies are waiting...

Although we only see them for a short time in the summer, fireflies are surprisingly long-lived, but they spend most of their lives — up to two years — as grubs underground. The nighttime lights that we see represent only about the last two weeks of their lives.
Fireflies aren't flies — they're beetles — and they spend most of their lives underground. Their nighttime light shows happen during their final two weeks of existence.
And what's the point of that magical display, anyway? It's all about producing more fireflies.
"They're using these flashes to attract a mate," says firefly researcher and ecologist Kristian Demary. "The males are the ones flying around flashing. Females are perched on grass and they will respond with a female species-specific response."
It's in that "species-specific response" that things can get interesting. There's not just one "firefly," but a number of different kinds. There are some behavioral differences — how high they fly, how late in the evening they become active — but they look so similar physically that their flashes, which vary in color, length, and pattern of repetition, are the main way to tell them apart. And they can use these flash patterns not only to attract a mate, but to fool each other: Some mimic the patterns of another species and then eat the hopeful mate.
" Want to entice fireflies to your yard?
If you're partial to fireflies, these tips will help keep them in your yard:
— Fireflies are beetles (not flies), so avoid using anti-beetle products in your garden— They spend most of their lives as grubs underground, so they are affected by anti-grub pesticides and by any disturbance to the soil. The grubs eat other invertebrates in the soil, so other pesticides may affect their source of food.
— Don't mow your grass too short. Mature fireflies prefer tall grass, and frequent mowing contributes to drier, packed-down soil, which is bad for the grubs.
— Minimize the use of outside lighting, which may affect their ability to communicate and find mates.
In places where firefly populations have dwindled, it seems increasing development is to blame. Some species with aquatic larvae in southeast Asia have declined by 70 percent in the last three years due to water pollution, says Demary.
Fireflies are sensitive to habitat disturbance and to moisture levels in the soil, and other human activities may affect them as well. For example, researchers suspect that artificial light, like streetlights, has an impact on their ability to find each other and mate, which may affect either total numbers or the diversity of species.


Barb said...

I remember having fun doing this as a kid.Then watching my daughter when she was little. Of course the grand kids had fun with this. I am waiting to see what my dogs reaction will be he loves to chase butterflies. He never catches them.

Gram said...

We don't have fireflies in Colorado, but I remember catching them with my cousins in Iowa when we would visit. It is one of my favorite childhood memories.

Sue said...

As a kid back in Colorado and New Mexico, we always caught lightning bugs. The Sullivans call them fireflies and laugh at me when I don't! Our son still is fascinated with the June antics of these little creatures, and he is 23, home from school. Now I never knew that these little suckers are in the last stage of their lives when they out mating. I learned a whole bunch today, Balisha! Sorry I haven't been by, I am so behind in my reading- I have over 400 posts to read, and the number keeps growing because these girls post ALL the time! LOL I had fun out thrifting last week. My friend, Susie Q from Rabbit Run Cottage wants to go w/me next time. Do you read her? Look her up- she is a great gal! Hope you come back soon. Your blogging is going great. So informative,and your garden looks fantastic. I have a brown thumb... :-) Sue

Meadowview Thymes said...

What a wonderful post!! I love fireflies. I watched a couple of them fly around the backyard last night and so many questions about them went through my mind. Your timing with the answers was perfect! Thanks! :)

coolwaterworks said...

I remember seeing fireflies every summer when I was a child... they would flock to the coconuts in our backyard.

This is a very informative post Balisha. I never knew that their light only shows for two weeks before their existence end... We should be grateful to the fireflies then, that in their impending doom, they allow us to see their light...

Judy said...

This really brought back some memories of my childhood and that of my own children, too. We used to run into each other trying to catch one firefly and stay up half the night in summer using them as lights in our tent outside. My children loved catching them just as much as I did. I still have them in my yard. I really enjoyed reading about them, too, as I did not know any of this stuff about fireflies.

Judy said...

Hi Balisha, It's me again! I meant to tell you that everytime I come over here, I just want to walk into that header, sit for a spell and enjoy the beautiful garden. It looks like such a lovely place.

Balisha said...

I guess from the comments we all have memories of fireflies. Isn't the natural world wonderful? Who, but God would think to put a little light on a bug? Lightning bugs, like many of God's curious creatures, are nocturnal,If they were active in the daytime, the Lord would not have needed to give them a flashlight!This is childish, I know, but there is the child in all of us.