Firefly Reports from Missouri
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 Missouri, listed in date order, alphabetically by city.


May 7, 2012: A reader writes: With the unseasonable warm temperature of about 67 degrees on March 31, 2012, the wife and I were out in the backyard by our garden enjoying our nice little fire in the fire ring as twilight gave way to night. I could hear overhead the ocassional call of migrating waterfowl, Blue-winged Teal and Gadwall, overhead under the blanket of night. I had leaned back in my chair and was looking to the heavens watching the stars when near the top of our Bald Cypress tree was a glowing firefly in flight. We watched if for a few minutes climb ever higher until it stopped blinking or possibly went over our 1-1/2 story house and into the front yard. Our house is set in a pasture setting with an agriculture field across the street and the other side of the field is a slow moving river. Trees are limited in our six acre yard with two rows of pines lining the west side of the property line as a wind break to the house. Five Bald Cypress in front and back yard in a line as if part of an old fence row. One Honey Locust tree, several 18-20 foot Mulberry Trees and 3, 30-40 foot Sweetgums. Earlier in the winter (mild this year 2012), I do remember seeing the glowing of the larval stage fireflies (I think) in the grass. Our address is Bloomfield, Missouri; however, we're about five miles north of Bloomfield proper in what is known as Aquilla, Missouri, just north of the Castor River.


August 7, 2000: A reader writes: When we recently visited Columbia, Mo. we saw fireflies for the first time. There are a lot of them there. Good luck with resupplying Houston with the neat little critters.


June 23, 2005: Mary writes: I live in Gainesville, Missouri, and there are hundreds of fireflies there. They live in the hedges and come out at night. They fly low and even at times seem to fly right in front of my husband and myself as if they are looking to see what we are. Even our old dog enjoys watching the fireflies in the evening. They seem to loose altitude when their little light blinks on. They fly over the lawn. We enjoy watching them.

High Ridge:

June 20, 1999:A reader writes: Last fall we moved from Dallas, TX to High Ridge, MO ( about 15 miles west of St. Louis in the hills) This spring and early summer we have been delighted with the fireflies in this area. I grew up in Ft. Worth and remember the fireflies there, but it has been a long time since I've seen them. We spent 8 years in Corpus Christi, 8 in San Antonio, and 6 in Dallas and I don't remember seeing any there during this time. I wonder if part of the disappearance is due the fire ants since they lay their eggs and spend the winter in the ground. Missouri is not yet "blessed" with fire ants and all the nature I grew up with still exist here. I know my dad in Ft. Worth blamed the fire ants for killing of the red ants and horned toads around his house. Hope you do find away to get them to return to Houston because them are a pleasure to watch and do bring back childhood memories.


July 9, 2000: James E. Barry, Naturalist with the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center notes: Interesting theories. I know that we have quite of few fireflies in Independence, MO from the end of June through August. I've observed that the population of fireflies decrease after the city sprays for mosquitoes. I have no scientific proof, just observation. They tend to be near low, moist, wooded areas. We have temps in the 90's and high humidity. I also see more males flying near yards that have not been cut for awhile. Hope it helps and we will check out downtown Kansas City (15 miles away) for fireflies.

Kansas City:

July 23, 2002: Sierra writes: Hi! My name is Sierra and I am a fireflier. We have tons of fireflies. We live in Kansas City, Missouri, proper, in a residential, medium-populated area. (Our property is approx. 1/3 acre). I know we noticed tons of them when we were outside for the 4th of July because the neighbors all had a big discussion about them. Climate doesn't seem to make a difference. The winter before last it reached an actual temperature of 23 degrees below zero. Last summer, it reached 112 degrees in the shade at our house. We have a lot of humidity, too. Our yard has a lot of roses, mums, a couple of hollies, some annuals, a small lawn pond out back, pine trees, a variety of diciduous trees, some sedum, peonies, and some lamb's ear. We have a fescue/blue grass mix. I really think they might like the lamb's ear, as we saw more in our font yard than our back. They didn't mind the fireworks. We don't have fire ants, but we do have a lot of mosquitos and birds. That may be something you might want to consider is the type of birds you have in Houston. Perhaps you have a breed of bird that uses fireflies as a food source. When we have been at my Grandma's, in a rural area, for 4th of July, we've seen tons there, too. It is about 300 miles from here. They don't have nearly as many lights, but do have roses, grass, and peonies. I don't think they particularly have a water source, and not many pine trees. I don't know if this has been helpful, but I wish you many fireflies in Houston!
June 29, 2002: A reader reports: I live in Kansas City, Missouri, and the lightning bugs are quite prevalent this year. They have been out for several weeks now. I'm sorry to hear that Houston does not have any. The children chase them in the evenings and there does not seem to be any shortage. Just at dusk you can count at least 50 in our back yard and we see them "sleeping" on things the yard during the day (they like the plastic slides on the swingset- one is red and the other is yellow). I have lived in KC all my life and guess I just took them for granted. We always went to Michigan in the summer and there were always plenty. I do have a great number of lilies in the yard and I seem to have a higher population than some of the neighbors. I also have many more trees (mostly maple). I did put diazanon down in the spring. I also have been watering the yard everyday because it has only rained once this month. The girl next door kept one of the ones she caught last week for the whole week and it lived with only water because she did not know what to feed it. What do they eat? She let it go last night and replaced it with a new one. For us lightning bugs have always been something that you didn't really have to chase- you just reach and grab- they are all over.
July 1, 1999: A reader writes: This very evening between 10:47 and 10:57 pm, I watched a marvelous, psychedelic show by fireflies in an inner city park in Kansas City, Missouri. It was twilight here, with the sun just below the horizon and light but no shadows from the sun. The grassy area I watched glistened like a gem! However, (he said, coming back down to earth), the tiny animals seemed not deterred by city lights but not at all attracted to the more-lit areas of the city. I cannot be sure if this is because there is more light where there is more pavement and building (fewer trees & less grass), or because the light itself is a deterrent. My hunch, based on the lack of travel of the fireflies, is that they hover where they rest during the day, and the rest during the day on trees and in grass. Thanks a lot for your site and the interesting info! Good luck with your project to bring fireflies to Houston!


July 9, 1997: A reader sighted "swarms" of fireflies in Manchester, Missouri, which is a suburb of St. Louis. House lights were present, but no bright city lights.


June 22, 1999: A reader notes: As I was sitting in my yard enjoying watching the fireflies emerge, I wondered what they eat. I'm not sure I know yet, but I enjoyed your page on fireflies. Now, I am not an expert firefly watcher, (in fact I'm not sure I've even given it a lot of thought since I was a kid (which was SEVERAL years ago), but it seems to me that there are more than usual this year. By the way, this is Mexico, Missouri, not the country.

Pemiscot County:

June 4, 2005: Alfreda Nash notes: In Southeast Missouri, we always called them lightning bugs. Anyway, my parents' yard had a beautiful display on June 3, 2005. It has been very dry there for two months. The yard does need mowing. It was about 8:30 in the evening - just after sundown. I used to see them there all summer, but this is the first time for a while. They said that they see them a lot. They live in the "bootheel" in Pemiscot County, Missouri. I have been living in Houston for 40 years and do not remember seeing any here.


June 6, 2005: Larry The Painter writes: The annual "Dance of the Fireflies" is commencing in Springfield, Missouri. This year there is a preponderance of the bright yellow ones that fly a straight upwards oblique line as they flash. It was a mild winter and this species obviously flourished better than the bright chartreuse j-patterns we usually get. Last weekend was priveleged to see electric blue near Table Rock lake. Thought those were extinct since most folks haven't seen 'em in years.
June 28, 2001: : A reader notes: Hi. I read your site with interest. I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, where there were (and still are) lots of lightning bugs (fireflies). I have lived in Orlando, Florida (which probably has a climate pretty similar to Houston) for the past 15 years, and have NEVER seen a single lightning bug. Please let me know what you have found out, I'd certainly like to see them in Orlando as well. Thanks.

St. Louis:

June 21, 1999: A reader reports: Fireflies are blinking and lighting up our yard every night. They start at dusk and continue on long after dark. We live in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, on approximately an acre of ground. Lots of trees on the property - we have at least 100 maybe more. Too many to count for us. The yard looks likes sparkling diamonds glittering at you. Its really quite pretty. About 1/2 mile away where we used to live we rarely saw fireflies at all. Must be the darkness, trees etc. This is our first spring here in this location and it seems that we have seen them most often the last week or so. As a result we are learning more about them. They are interesting to read about.
June 23, 2002: Yes, I see them in St. Louis City tonight, and have friends in Houston Win, win, and twinkle on everybody.

St. Paul:

July 21, 1999: A reader reports: I live in the Como Park area of St. Paul, MN (just inside the northern city limits) and have been observing firefly larvae in my compost heap for the last eight years. This year is the first time I have sighted adult insects and I was elated! Sightings occurred on July 6th and July 20th at about 9:30 PM. There were only 4 or 5 insects sighted each of these evenings and the insects were only seen 10 to 25 feet off the ground near the trees. Fireflies I have seen in rural areas have always been within 10 feet of the ground surface. I hope this information is useful.

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