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

Bergan County:

August 6, 2000: A reader notes: Caught (and released) a firefly in my backyard last week. I'm in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Cape May Court House:

August 6, 2000: Heather M. Hand writes: I haven't seen many fireflies in my area until July 4th when I was sitting on my front porch watching fireworks in the distance. There was more than I have seen in a long time. I live on a one acre rural wooded area inCape May Court House, New Jersey. It is almost to the southern tip of the state. It is about 15 miles to the ocean and less than that to the Delaware Bay. I do not have any close neighbors. I don't have many butterflies and have many varieties of flowers to attract them. I see an occasional hummingbird. We do have mosquitos that get controlled by arrival spraying. We only seem to have them when it gets dark. I have a bat house to encourage them and think that cuts the population. A week ago we had an extraordinary amount of dragonflies which I do not recall having before.I find it interesting to find out why these things happen some years and not others. When I was a teenager, about 45 years ago, fireflies were in abundance.


August 6, 2000:A reader reports: We live in Leonia, New Jersey, which is two miles from the George Washington Bridge/Hudson River. It is a suburban town. Our neighborhood has many, many fireflies in the evening, in fact, I think there are more this year than we have seen in awhile. They started appearing in early June and are still going strong in August. Our town is a "Tree City USA" town, so we have many varieties of trees. In my yard and surrounding yards we have Choke Cherry Trees, American Elms, Red Maples, Sugar Maples, Apple Trees (Rome & Granny Smith), Pear Trees, Dogwoods & a Pin Oak. I have many flowering plants, a vegetable garden, butterfly garden, raspberry patch, perennial & annuals. We have had a cool summer, we haven't had a 90 degree day in the month of July. August started out very wet also.


June 14, 2005: Zoe writes: Hello! I found your site while searching for more info on these lovely glowing flies! I had never seen them in real life before moving to New Jersey two years ago. I grew up in southern Ontario but never saw any there. It was a breathtaking moment when I saw my first live firefly last summer. I fell in love! So, last night in Montclair, New Jersey, which is in Essex County about 10 miles from Manhattan/NYC, I saw about 10 fireflies at dusk (8:30-9:00 p.m.). It was still really hot out (in the 30s in Celsius, in the 80s in Fahrenheit). They were hanging out on the front lawn of a couple of houses on a not-so-busy side street. There were trees and bushes. If I had more time I would have hung out more with them too. Thank you! I'll pop you another email if more of them come out to play. Thanks for your great Web pages!

Mullica Hill:

May 24, 2000: A reader notes: I live in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, (18 miles SE of Philadelphia)and saw a few fireflies last night about 10 pm - misty open back yard - substantial brush around for protection.

New Jersey:

June 30, 2000: Ed Pell regrets: I am on the web this morning looking for commercial sources for fireflies and all I've found is your page bemoaning the lack of same. Here in New Jersey there were a few fireflies last year, none this year so far. (They'd be here if they were going to be here). I hate to admit that they are becoming extinct, but am beginning to fear this is the case.
July 13, 2000: Glenn Oleksak writes: I work for a railroad, and was working at dusk the other night in NJ not far from NYC, and there - in between two railroad tracks - in a patch of weeds about 20 feet wide that were half dead from overspray from the railroad's weed spray on the tracks - in an area fairly well light by artificial light - were "big dipper" fireflies! If you want to re-introduce fireflies to the Houston area (or just your yard) my suggestion would be to use this species, as they seem to be very forgiving of human activities.

Northern New Jersey:

July 19, 2002: A reader reports: I live in northern New Jersey, and my yard is loaded with them! This year, more than past years, they seem to be more abundant. Quite a show every night.
July 3, 2000: Glenn Oleksak notes: Greetings again from Northern New Jersey. It has been a wet spring and summer and the firefly activity (as well as mosquitos and horseflies, unfortunately) has been fantastic. I have found a low-lying flood zone area by a river to be the best place for viewing. The show starts at sunset as small ones with short yellowish flashes fly low to the ground. As it gets darker, larger, greenish yellow flashing ones come out. They have three basic types: The "Big Dippers"- the ones that hold their light on as they dip down in a "J" pattern; ones that just flash and tend to fly high in the trees; and the rarer ones that fly fast and flash their light in 5 or 6 quick successions. Once it's dark, the little yellow flashing ones are gone, but the greener flashing ones stay out late. As I have written before, this being northern NJ, there is a lot of light pollution which is rapidly getting worse, but it doesn't seem to bother the fireflies too much.

Northwestern Corner of New Jersey:

July 8, 2005: A reader writes: I live on a lake in the northwest corner of New Jersey. About two weeks ago my brother was visiting and we went out on the deck by the lake at around 10 PM. Now, we had grown up here as children and I moved back about nine years ago, so we are no strangers to fireflies, but this night was like no other! Just off shore there is a small (60 foot by 15 foot) island. When we looked out towards the island we saw thousands of fireflies. The amount was odd enough, but they were lighting up and staying lit, leaving streaks in the night like meteorites. As I've said I have seen fireflies all my life, both here and in Queens, New York, where we lived during the year, but nothing like this. Over the next week they continued to appear, at about the same time but the amount lessened each night. The number, the brightness and the time they stayed lit made it look like Christmas lights twinkling in the sky. We have been looking for information about this ever since. Was it a mating ritual? Or some other natural event? If anyone knows anything about it, please let us know, as it was so beautiful that if it occurs at a given time each year we don't want to miss it next year. Also, in researching fireflies I read that they fly about one and a half feet off the ground. Around here they can be seen in the tops of trees 35-45 feet off the ground.

Park Ridge:

July 2, 2001: Eileen Giordano reports: I am thrilled to tell you that I have been seeing so many fireflies in my yard recently! I live in Park Ridge, New Jersey and we have them every year but this year is the best. I grew up with them being the quintessential symbol of summer as a kid in Queens, NY. And while we always had some in the beginning of the season, this year they are more numerous than I remember them being in years. I mentioned them to a friend living in Spokane, Washington and he said they don't have them there. Since he didn't grow up in Washington, I asked if he had them in his hometown in Canada, and to my astonishment, he replied no. We began to scour the internet for information on fireflies, specifically what region they are native to and what their life expectancy is. I found your site and I had to reply. Every night for the past 2 weeks I go outside and follow them around the yard. They are so spectacular and when they land on your arm or hand and you get to check them out up close, it's truly amazing! Regarding your "spray programs" theory, I thought I would mention that last summer they sprayed for mosquitoes pretty heavily in the New York, New Jersey area due to the West Nile disease. It certainly doesn't seem to have hindered this years population of fireflies, luckily. Just thought it was worth a mention. Anyway - thanks for your website. It's cool to know that other people are just as fond of these neat little creatures as I am.

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