To submit your own report email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your city/town and state, and the date of your sighting. Include as many details as you can, such as numbers of fireflies, location (rural/city/wooded area, etc), temperature, time, and so on. Thanks for helping with this project.
Below are reports from Illinois, listed in date order, alphabetically by city.
May 11, 2000: Tina writes: Hello. I saw a few here in Bloomington, Illinois, a few days ago. I was hoping you could direct me to some sites that tell how to attract them. I think because of all the pesticides here in Illinois they are becoming fewer. Thank you so
July 31, 1998: A reader writes: We visited rural Charleston, Illinois, in July and saw many fireflies in the evening--too many to count. My husband is from California and this is the first time he had ever seen fireflies. He said that the fireworks were anticlimactic after seeing fireflies.
June 23, 2005:
Just saw an article on the web about your curiosity of fireflies. I used to
live in a condo in the city of Chicago. Last year, I moved into a suburb of
Chicago, Illinois, and had a lawn and my own backyard for the very first time. It was
at this time that I discovered native plant species to my local area. I
started planting them in abundance from forbs, to grasses, vines, shrubs and
trees. Then, this year they came. At dusk, I have fireflies flitting
about my yard. They go about their lighting display for about one half hour
and then there's silence. I have not seen them in my neighbors' yards so I
can only assume that they like the native plantings I provided (or maybe
they're attracted to the other beneficial insects that now inhabit my yard).
I highly recommend this avenue if one is truly interested in attracting
these magnificent miracles. Also provided are shallow puddling pools that I
scattered throughout my yard. I took the bottom saucer of a planting pot
and filled it partially with sand. Every morning I change the water for the
insects that may come to visit me. This may also be a useful tool. Good luck!
August 6, 2000: A reader notes: Your site was interesting. I found it in the Sunday newspaper magazine "Access". Anyway, I recently moved to Wisconsin from the Chicago metro area. In Chicago we had fireflies present, but not even close to the numbers of them I have found in southeastern Wisconsin where I now live. Holy cow, there are a lot of fireflies over the farms here! Things I have noticed. There is no spraying for mosquito's here in my part of Wisconsin. There was plenty of that in Chicago. The light pollution is unbelievable in Chicago, but we still had fireflies. Maybe the problem is urban sprawl? Since the firefly is a beetle maybe the construction of new subdivisions has destroyed an entire generation of fireflies in your area. Also, as you're probably aware, the number one polluter to our soil is currently the suburban homeowner, golf course and business park due to the spraying of chemicals into their lawns. Maybe these chemicals are having an effect on the fireflies also. Good luck on your research!
June 26, 1999: A reader reports: I live in suburban Chicago, Illinois, and at dusk to night in my back yard a couple dozen of fireflies are blinking, some low to the ground and some in the tres. We have a 1/2 acre wooded area immediately behind the house from which they seem to come. My neighbor has all mowed lawn on his property and there are no fireflies by his place. I've also noticed when you capture them in a bug jar they flash less often or not at all. As soon as I release them they flash brightly (perhaps even more brightly than before capture and at their highest frequency. Anyone have any ideas on why this behavior?
July 8, 1998: A reader reports: I just returned from Chicago, Illinois, yesterday where I saw fireflies for the first time. I saw a lot of them in the park by the lake and in people's yards away from busy areas. The weather was in the mid 70's with some humidity and a bit of rain. The dates I saw them were July 5,6 & 7, around dusk (after 7 pm) and a little after (until 10 ish). I saw them in an area called Lincoln Park, only where it was relatively quite with flowers and bushes. In the places I saw them they were not disturbed by my presence and I was able to place my hand in front of one and it landed on me for a second. I saw them in numbers ranging from one to about sixty. The most I saw were in one beautiful moist, flower laden garden with a small patch of grass with low lights. They seem to prefer the plants and bushes with flowers, especially the flowers which look like hydrangea and are all white with dark green medium leaves. I had seen this garden without the fireflies and it was beautiful but with them it was absolutely magical!
July 16, 2001: George Benway reports: Enjoyed visiting your site. Being from California, I've only witnessed fireflies on one occasion when visiting Dixon, Illinois. It was almost magical and something which I will always remember. I am amazed at how many people share this desire to learn about these little creatures that emit light. I too would like to obtain information as I would like to know why these little beetles are not in California. Can they be raised here? I understand they feed on snails and slugs so we have plenty of food for them. I'm working on developing a "artificial" firefly that uses a 9 volt battery that flashes a led light. The prototype is in one of my trees and sure looks like the real thing. My hope is to look out there some night and see two lights flashing!
East Central, Illinois:
June 19, 1999:A reader writes: I live in East Central Illinois, and have enjoyed the luminous displays of these little creatures ever since I was a little girl. I remember fondly going out with my sisters on warm summer evenings with our special "houses" that we fashioned out of old Ball glass canning jars and netting, catching multitudes of "lighting bugs" (as we called them in our neck of the woods), then using them as night lights for the night; in the morning we would release them and repeat the whole process the next chance we got.
As the years have gone by, I have noticed a decline, albeit slight, in the numbers of fireflies in this section of the state. Some years seem to be more fruitful in terms of their population than others, though, especially if we have a sultry spring season. The concentration of fireflies appears to be greatest in the tall grasses bordering the edge of woodsy areas, as is the case by our home. We generally notice the first twinklings towards the end of May in this region, and they usually stick around well into September here, although their numbers are greatly reduced by then.
As far as the length of time they are active during the evening, I usually notice that they start taking flight just before twilight gets underway, and although I usually don't stay out all night paying much mind to what the creatures of the night are up to, one evening recently I came home at dawn (5AM or so) from babysitting at my sister's house all night, and noticed that a few straggler fireflies were still out doing their thing!
I found your site to be quite interesting, and I hope that this bit of information will be of some use to you.
June 23, 1999:Ursel Jones writes: I live in Evanston, Illinois, and we have the most awesome display of fireflies every night. We just moved her from San Diego and I had never seen fireflies until this last week. They are so incredible and we have hundreds of them. It's like watching Christmas lights go on one at a time in the bushes. What a great phenomenon they are.
July 2, 1999: A reader wonders: I really do not understand all the hoopla about fireflies (called lightning bugs where I come from). In Illinois, I guess we take them for granted. My backyard at night resembles the images we all saw of Baghdad under fire from
U.S. forces. Thousands of lightning bugs can be viewed at once, all night
long. The Bugs usually appear in late June and hang around though August.
July 5, 2002: Joanne Koenig-Macko notes: We always had many many fireflies in Cleveland, Ohio growing up there in the
50's, 60's and collected them in jars.
Now in Naperville, Illinois, we have many of them every night here
lighting up the backyards.
June 25, 1999: Dr. Dean J. Campbell reports: We live just west of Peoria, Illinois, near some small woods and have lots of fireflies. I caught about 10 last night and let them go this morning -
many of the males were quite excited about the one female I had caught.
June 28, 1999:A reader writes: I live in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb immediately adjacent to the city of Chicago. We have many fireflies here. You see them beginning just before dark and they stay out for about one hour. As we attend various outdoor
social events in different suburbs of Chicago, I have noticed that many
suburbs have hardly any fireflies. I believe there may be a correlation
between mosquito spraying and decline in firefly numbers. We do not spray
in Oak Park. In LaGrange Park, about a 15 minute drive west from Oak Park,
I did not see a single firefly although I spent 30 minutes looking for them.
On the western edge of Naperville, in a newly developed subdivision, there
were very few fireflies also. Naperville is on the edge of "Chicagoland",
what we call the urban area. It is very close to farmland. I believe
Naperville sprays for mosquitos, as does LaGrange Park. I grew up in a very
small town in central Illinois. The fireflies were very thick in our yard
every year, thicker than in Oak Park, but not by much. One other possible
correlation - there are many trees in Oak Park - many more than in
Naperville and more than in LaGrange Park. There are enough trees in Oak
Park that there is a small but noticeable cooling in temperature from
June 26, 1999: A reader reports: On June 26th I was driving through Pontiac, Illinois, and it was after a rain. It was the time just between dusk and darkness. We pulled over to
the side of the road and the corn fields were glowing with literally
millions of fireflies! They were as far as the eye could see.
August 6, 2000: A reader notes: Your site was interesting. I found it in the Sunday newspaper magazine
"Access". Anyway, I recently moved to Wisconsin from the Chicago metro
area. In Chicago we had fireflies present, but not even close to the numbers
of them I have found in southeastern Wisconsin where I now live. Holy cow,
there are a lot of fireflies over the farms here!
Things I have noticed. There is no spraying for mosquito's here in my part
of Wisconsin. There was plenty of that in Chicago. The light pollution is
unbelievable in Chicago, but we still had fireflies.
Maybe the problem is urban sprawl? Since the firefly is a beetle maybe the
construction of new subdivisions has destroyed an entire generation of
fireflies in your area.
Also, as you're probably aware, the number one polluter to our soil is
currently the suburban homeowner, golf course and business park due to the
spraying of chemicals into their lawns. Maybe these chemicals are having an
effect on the fireflies also.
Good luck on your research!
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