Firefly Reports from Massachusetts
Selected by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

To submit your own report email
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 Massachusetts, listed in date order, alphabetically by city.


June 13, 2005: Christina writes: I live in Acton, Massachusetts. It's about 45 minutes away from Boston. Acton is more country, with grassy fields, tree lines, trees, and many ponds. On Sunday, June 12th, my significant other and I went out to look to see if fireflies were out. We went to a grassy field with a forest tree line. We saw many of them blinking from dusk (8:30pm) to 10pm. Half were flashing green light and half were slowly dimming with a firey orange yellow light. On our drive back home they were in spots all over the place--even a single one would be wandering late at night. Where we live the nature seems to be well preserved and protected that we still get firefly activity. I'm sure were getting them all over the place in the country part of Massachusetts.


June 27, 2005: A reader reports: I live in Arlington, Massachusetts, and for the past seven years have been viewing fireflies at the marsh opposite the Belmont Country Club, on Concord Avenue as it runs from Belmont into Lexington towards Waltham. It's a very reliable place to find a good number of fireflies, and they have been out this year for about two weeks. Also, I have recently found that the marshes in Concord along the Battle Road in and near to the Minuteman National Park, have very plentiful fireflies. Last night, while a thunderstorm with lightning passed along the north side of Concord, the fireflies & their flashes went absolutely crazy! Have never seen so many in this area. Another great place to find them is the "cow pasture" (that's what the sign says!) next to the Concord River where the launch site for private canoes is located, just outside the center on Lowell Road. (My best firefly viewing was in mid-Pennsylvania, Ohio & Indiana - I've never been south to Florida or Georgia at this time of year.) Thanks for keeping up the great, resourceful web page.


June 18, 2005: A reader writes: Hi from Biddeford, Maine, on June 18 2005. While looking out the second story window of my home, I observed about 18 different flashes in the field in front of the house. The field the fireflies occupy is natural (not cultivated) and is usually wet, but is very wet this year, due to the rainy spring. The temperature is about 58 at 10 PM. We have lived here since 2001, and have observed the fireflies every year. They are a wonderful sight and I pray they continue every year.


July 5, 2002: Sarah writes: I grew up in California and never saw a firefly until I moved to Boston, MA. Went for a walk tonight (July 5, 2002) around 8 P.M. and saw a lot of fireflies. I was walking in Brighton (near the border with Newton) and saw about 100 fireflies on my entire walk (5-6 blocks). I noticed them in people's front yards, especially among hosta plants and juniper bushes, on shady streets with little ambient light. The weather has been very hot and humid (hi 90s) but tonight was much cooler (in the 70s). I did notice there were no fireflies in my backyard but our landlord has a very bright spotlight that stays on all night. I'll see what I can do about that.
July 13, 2001: Joe Christo notes: As a kid in New Jersey, right near Elizabeth to be exact, I remember seeing tons of fireflies quite often. I used to try to catch them, and one time was worried that they might not be able to breathe in the container that I put them in, so naturally I poked some holes in the top...needless to say we didn't really have to use lights in the house for the next few days. Anyways, the topic of fireflies came up in conversation the other day after the Boston Globe printed a story saying that the chemical that makes them light is also in Viagra. I then got to thinking that I barely see them at all anymore since I moved to Boston, Massachusetts, over 10 years ago, and probably hadn't seen one in about 2 years. And then, about one week after that conversation, the same group of friends was together, and we spotted one near a was an absolute riot. Since then I have seen around ten others. Is it true that fireflies are more native to New Jersey than Massachusetts, or have I just been looking in the wrong places?

Eastern Massachusetts:

June, 1997: A reader saw one firefly near the house in Eastern Massachusetts.


July 19, 2002: Jane reports: I had the honor to be invited to a firefly watching party for Bastille day (July 14th) in Marblehead, Massachusetts. They appeared at dusk (8:15 pm), a few at a time at first, from a thick tangle of overgrown shrubs and large trees at the bottom of the garden. It was magical watching gathering numbers of them float, blink, and streak through the gathering darkness. They came right up to us, behind us and overhead. It was a real aerial show, natural fireworks. We caught one, and saw what a small, dull gray bug it was crawling over our hands. No wonder we always let them go when we were kids! As soon as it was truly dark (around 9:15 pm) the blinks became fewer and fewer then stopped as they retreated through lovely garden. Back they went, through the Butterfly Bush, white Hydrangeas and other flowering plants and shrubs. We thought some of the reasons for them being in this yard might be: the dampness of the lower yard, the dense, protective thicket they appeared to be living in, and the plant material. It was such a nice occasion I got on the web to find out more about them and found your site. Thanks.


June 25, 1999: A reader writes: I looked up fireflies on the net to see how they got their glow and I stumbled upon your site. We just moved to a new apartment in Millis, Mass. a few months ago. There is a meadow with tall grass in the back of our house. We have seen numerous sightings of fireflies on hot humid nights. There are usually about 20 to 30 of them! When I first saw them I was mystified and shouted to my wife to come see. Memories flooded back to me from my childhood trying to catch fireflies at our friend's house. I always wondered why they didn't come to our house! Now before we go to bed we always check to see if they are out. To me, watching fireflies gives me a deep feeling of God's love for us! What a wonderful sight to see!
June 15, 2005: A reader writes: I am from Sonoma County, California, and I have identified a glow worm. I have never seen one before. It is a fascinating little creature! Are they suppose to be here?


June 14, 2005: A reader writes: Hello there. I moved to the US from Ireland last summer. My boyfriend is from this area and told me that there are fireflies here and that sometimes they came into his room at night time. We were living in Plymouth, Massachusetts, at that time. I was very excited to hear this, as I had only ever seen fireflies in cartoons (animation). So one night last August, I saw something flashing up towards his bedroom ceiling at about midnight. Transfixed and excited, I sat up in the bed and watched it for about two hours before I realized it was the light flashing in his smoke detector. You can imagine my disappointment as I threw myself back under the pillows, not relishing the thought of getting up for college at 6.30 am. There were no sightings of anything remotely luminous in Plymouth after that. However, we recently bought a house in Plympton, Massachusetts, which is about 15 minutes from Plymouth. It's the smallest town in southeastern Massachusetts, and it's all horse farms and cranberry bogs. Behind our house we have just under two acres of young woodlands and then about eight acres of cranberry bog. And in the last week (beginning of June) we have started to see actual fireflies in the back garden. We went into the Museum of Science in Boston on Saturday and they had a huge model of a firefly and a little bit of information on why they glow and the fact that the frogs tummys will also glow after a good feed. Last night I got out of bed at about 1 am and sat on the deck to watch them. I saw about ten dancing around the garden. I looked up at the night sky and saw one meander across the top of the pine trees, quite a height for a small winged one to accomplish. There was another that just sat on the same flower for the entire hour that I was out there. Growing up in the countryside, I always knew better than to disturb any kind of nature. But last night my curiosity got the better of me and I crept across the lawn to get a closer inspection of the stationary one. He didn't fly away when I brushed him into my palm. When I brought him inside I saw that his wing is all twisted around and looks broken. So I drilled some holes in the lid of a jam jar and he stayed blinking beside my bed all night. I came on to this website here, looking to see if there was anything that I could feed him, and it seems there's not a lot. We're having a blanket of pollen cover the garden at the moment. Maybe I could brush some off the hood of my car and sprinkle it into the jar? I might just do that. Maybe that will fuel his luciferin? Maybe I'll wait and see if his light is any duller tonight, and then give him the pollen tomorrow and see if the light gets any stronger? Anyway, I think that your website is brilliant (no pun intended). It's good to see people appreciate the little things that make America such a fantastic and wonderful country. Getting the time and energy to initiate and maintain a website like this is something that a lot of people would put at the very end of their to-do list and prioritize other self indulgencies over and above what is essentially a public service. I think that your local government's environmental office should sponsor your efforts and support your endeavors. If not, you should rest easy in the knowledge that you are doing some good in the world and this will be a bonus on your slate. The very best of luck to you.


June 29, 2000: Joe Hayes writes: Tonight I had a longing for some reason to see fireflies, so I went down to a 5000 acre conservation area just down the street from my house in Stoneham, MA, with my dog Biscuit. I walked about 200 yards into the woods (there were still bright lights from an abutting lumber yard) and saw my first one. It took my breath away. This was along a trail bordered on either side by tall grasses receding into bushes then taller trees. As I went a little farther in I saw four or five more. I was going to keep going- the trail goes on for miles and miles- but it was pitch black further in and I kept thinking of Blair Witch Project and Friday the 13th movies and decided discretion was the better part of valor. I believe I saw two different species, as the first one I saw had a definite quick FLASH then off then FLASH then off etc, while the others I saw, their light was more a longer, sputtering, drawn out flash. Or maybe this is male and female difference? Every Thursday night during the summer me and a group of friends meet at my house for pizza and beer, then we go mini-golfing. Tomorrow night (after everyone's had at least one beer) I'm going to suggest that instead of mini-golfing we go and count fireflies in the conservation area. These are all guys, between the ages of 20 and 63. We'll have to vote on it...wish me luck! I will report back!


Late June, 1997: A reader reports seeing two fireflies in a rural yard, which is located in Weston, Massachusetts.


July 8, 1999: A reader reports: For the second year in a row (didn't look much before then) I've had fireflies in my backyard in Woburn, MA (10 miles north of Boston) for about an hour around sunset. Best luck seems to be on warm, humid nights around this time of year. (We had zero rain in June, and I didn't find any before then.) There is a small wooded hilly area in the back, and that's where I find them, within a few feet of the boundary. I don't use insecticide, or much herbicide. The vegetation is a random mix of hardwoods, shrubbery (polk berries?), poison ivy, etc. I've caught some, but they don't flash for me in captivity. (Last year I let Sparky loose in the bathroom, and eventually he answered the light on my watch.) Mostly it's a stupid Daddy trick for my kids. (I don't want to feed my kids to the mosquitos, and my 4-year-old doesn't like the woods at night, especially when the fireflies are out.) I've been searching the web, without luck, for information on their care and feeding in captivity, and inducing them to glow.

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