Fireflies and Fireworks

By Terry Golson


July 4th. Around here it means hot weather, cookouts, parades, and fireworks. Fireworks are gorgeous spectacles, but I’m a bit of a curmudgeon about them. The noise scares animals (and people) and they’re a fire hazard. They’re dangerous and I wish that individuals weren’t able to buy their own sparkling explosives. Nonetheless, if I see a fireworks show, I ooh and ahh with everyone else!

I prefer the sort of light show that goes on nightly in our front meadow.

time-lapse photo by Steve Golson

Fireflies! (Or, you might call them Lightning Bugs. This is a regional dialect thing.)

Sadly, these insects are on the decline. Pesticides, artificially illuminated skies, raked lawns, and loss of wetlands have all contributed to their demise.

Luckily for me, what’s good for turtles is also good for fireflies. My home in Maine looks out to marsh (where plenty of snails, slugs, and other creatures live that these beetles like to eat.) The open meadow that slopes down to the water is mowed only once a year, so the grass is tall and damp – another thing that these bugs need. There’s also plenty of leaf litter, bark, and other cozy spaces for the larvae to overwinter. A firefly haven.

At night, Steve and I turn out the lights in the house and let our eyes adjust. Then we watch the show.

Have a wonderful and safe July 4th!


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10 thoughts on “Fireflies and Fireworks

  • Rebecca Stedman

    The way life should be…we have synchronized Fireflies here in the Smokies. They all light at once and then all goes dark for a bit then they show off again. They start their show In early June and don’t last long. It is a beautiful sight. People are secretive about where you can see them. The National Park provides a week of events so they can be viewed. We also enjoy the show our regulars put on. Agree on the fact each year fewer and fewer appear. Enjoy you new paradise, so many more fabulous things will be revealed.
    Happy 4Th

  • Gin

    We do have lightning bugs this year! Yay! During the last several years of drought I only saw a few, if any.
    I’m much more of a curmudgeon than you are with fireworks, I don’t like them at all. Last night some people down the road shot off some of them, my black and white spotted horse stood out in the barn lot and watched them, the 2 mares stayed back in the barn.

  • Michelle Bianco

    Beautiful picture!! I have been wondering why I see so fewer fireflies that when I was growing up! I am also lucky to have quite a few in my yard, I love seeing them every night 🙂 I guess it would make sense since we also have an abundance of turtles!