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

To submit your own report email burger@burger.com
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 Michigan, listed in date order, alphabetically by city.

Almont:

July 7, 2005: A reader writes: As we placed our chairs along the edge of the one acre pond in the middle of the public park my fiance pointed toward the right. We had never seen so many fireflies anywhere. It was the Fourth Of July and there were dozens of people and dogs and lots of noise. As the kids ran around with sparklers and the occasional small firecracker went off it seemed as though the fireflies were completely undisturbed. It was as if watching a pre-fireworks display. As we watched the twinkling - akin to those icicle lights that people hang from their rooflines around Christmas - we realized that describing the actual amount of fireflies would be difficult. The fireworks began and then we had our description. The firefly display was like when one of those really big fireworks goes off and starts to dissipate, as it drifts toward the ground there are a million twinkles of light. That is what we saw in Olathe, Kansas, on the Fourth Of July. During the last week of June we spent some time in Almont, Michigan. There were lots of fireflies, they had a rapid blink - blink - blink to them, unlike at home in Kansas where they just give off the occasional single blink at a time. The color of the blinkers in Michigan was also more of a green compared to the yellowish blink of the Kansan fireflies. In Michigan we were in a tree-lined yard surrounded by farmer's fields. No water within a square mile, unless you count swimming pools.

Grand Rapids:

July 21, 2002: A reader notes: July 21, 2002: Grand Rapids Michigan. This has also been a good year to see fireflies in this area.
July 10, 2000: A reader relates: Tonight we walked with fireflies! We live 15 minutes south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a well populated area. I was not aware that the firefly population was decreasing as we see them every year. It was about 9:15 until 10:00 pm. Dusk to dark. The weather here has been over cast and very rainy this afternoon. The fireflies in our area seem to be out in large numbers and we caught about 50 of them. My son is telling them goodbye and releasing them tonight. The fireflies seemed to be everywhere, in groups and in singles but were most abundant in the yards with long grass. Hope this helps you. Just so you know, no fireflies were injured in our net! I was looking up information to share with my child when I found your website.

Romeo:

June 11, 1999: A reader notes: I live about 33 miles north of Detroit, just outside of the town of Romeo, Michigan. On June 11th my husband and I were at a friend's house about 18 miles north-east of here, just south of Capac, for a BBQ. When it got dark the children started to catch fireflies in the yard. She told me of a field not far from her house where thousands of fireflies are, so when we left to go home we went by this field. I was amazed to say the least. I've seen fireflies in Michigan before, but there were 10's of thousands of them in a field of about 10 to 15 acres. During the day the field is nothing more then tall grass and my friend says the fireflies are like this every year. It was nothing but blinking lights everywhere. Thank-you for the interesting material about the firefly.

Saginaw:

June 11, 1999: A reader writes: This evening I found one firefly here in Saginaw, Michigan. My mother said she rarely sees fireflies in Michigan. She grew up in Austin, Texas and use to see them all the time. This was the first time I ever saw one. It was hot outside about 88 degrees. The mosquito sprayers have not been out and the firefly was spotted near some flowers that had just been planted a week ago. We decided to look for information regarding fireflies and found your Web page. Thanks!

Southeastern Michigan:

July 5, 2005: Kay Gelvin reports: I have been haunted by your plight! It has been on my mind constantly, since seeing it on the internet last week. I have some information which I think could be useful to you. This season, I've seen more fireflies than I have in a very long time. It is mind boggling to think I've seen so many. Let me set up a few facts. I live in the southeastern corner of Michigan, a mile or so from Lake Erie. We have had half the normal amount of rain this year and does it show! I live next to a farmer's field in a small subdivision and it is all clay around here. It has been a warmer than normal season but last summer it was the most mild I can ever remember. I have experienced three incredibly bad winters in a row. This I measure by the damage to my roses and lavenders. (Excessive cold. Extreme cold/warm days in spring and too darn wet. The snow stays on the ground for months.) I grow herbs and specialty (heritage-type) roses. I use both in culinary ways, so I don't want to spray. This year, I am expanding my herb beds and I am spending a lot more time outside than I would normally. From early morning to dusk, I see fireflies. Everywhere! I probably see more of them than any other bug! (Well, maybe not. I've got an awful lot of hornets around here with all that clay!) Anyway, the fireflies are very active during the day. I have a tendency to be a lazy gardener so I usually don't deadhead my plants unless someone important comes for a visit, and even then I have to be motivated. Well, this year, since I've seen so much damage to my roses, I decided to nurse them along with pruning and deadheading. And I'll tell you they have so many little fireflies visiting you would be amazed. If you asked me on any given day to go out and collect 25 in 25 minutes I know it would not be a problem, and I bet I could do it in a lot less time than that! Here's the thing. The fireflies seem to be sweeping the spent roses with their mouths. Over and over again. Some of the most popular (according to the fireflies) roses I have are Alchemist (only blooms once but it is spectacular), New Dawn (repeat bloom), Rugosa roses (repeat bloom), Jacques Cartier (repeat bloom), all of which have quite good scent. Because I don't spray, I have other bugs as well and it is quite obvious from the damage to the leaves. I think it's safe to say that adult fireflies do indeed eat! Since they spend so much time on the decaying flower, I've decided to halt the deadheading and continue to watch their habits. I know there are roses in Houston, but how many people have them, just for the fun of it, and don't use any sprays, powders, or systemic treatments? I do not and will not plant Hybrid Tea roses. They require too much attention in a climate such as this. I have the hardier and more robust roses and my biggest problems are aphids, not Japanese beetles. Is it possible that you could try growing any of the roses I suggested? (My first choice would be Alchemist.) The trick would be to grow these and not use chemicals. My guess is if this is something that makes my yard special, then it may take a few years for the cycle to establish itself. I also have several rosemary plants which I put in the ground in spring and then dig up and bring inside in the fall to winter over in a south-facing bay window. Three years ago, I had a firefly come out of the soil from one of these plants at Christmas. Luckily enough, it was warm enough that he was taken directly outside to fend for himself. I hope this can be of some use to you. You have my permission to use my name and should you want daylight pictures or other information on this, please let me know. I wish you all the very best in your quest. I find your mission to be extraordinary and I applaud your efforts.

Woodhaven:

July 7, 1999: A reader explains: Until a minute or so ago I had no real intellectual or otherwise interest in fireflies or gave it much thought except that we have them and they are fun to look at and it brought back fun childhood memories of catching them in a jar. Well, the mother of three small children we were out for a late night walk when they should have been going down to bed (an attempt to lighten up and capture the moments of life) and it is growing dark and we are seeing the abundance of fireflies flying around. Children will notice what us adults are too busy not noticing so we were talking about the fireflies and of course I said someday we can try to catch some. Well, we came back in and one came in the hallway with us (we live in a rather large apartment complex) so I just went in and got my jar and scooped it up and then soon we were outside because it needed a friend and then back in. Not knowing a thing and feeling stupid I decided I better put some green stuff in. Don't know a darn thing about what they eat except that they are going to die in this jar and that is not right. The children understand this (ages 6, 4, & 2--well the 2 year old is just fascinated with the "bug") and the girls want them to glow and we poke holes but I don't want to be a murderer! Anyway, I went online hoping to find something that would say I had something at my fingertips they eat so at least I could keep them alive overnight so they can enjoy the wonder of nature and then set them free the next evening. Well, no luck for me to get them food from what I've read and stubbled across your sight. So, thought I would take and seize the moment (evening though at 10:35 my time my children need to be in bed!!!) and tell you that we live in Woodhaven, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit--southern suburb) and we live in this apartment complex place that has lots of grounds and we have an abundance of fireflies flying around at night (quite a LOT) that seem to be very prevalent during these hot summer months! I grew up in rural northern Wisconsin--very rural--and we used to go firefly hunting out in the country and could catch jars full (don't really remember what we did with them! I think we set them free). I hope this is helpful information and thanks for the bit of information that I got from you on this amazing creatures! I'm gonna let the kids take them to bed with them tonight and enjoy the wonder of their creator and learn to respect and appreciate that which is different from themselves.

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