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

Brooklyn:

June 29, 2005: A reader writes: I was walking tonight at dusk under the elevated trian platform in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, when all of a sudden I noticed a stange familiar glow. I don't think I had seen a firefly since my childhood in rural Maine. I held out ny hand and the beetle landed in my palm and stayed put while I walked all the way home . . . about a fifteen minute walk! I put him in a jar with a fresh marigold and he was flying around and blinking enthusiastically for about ten minutes but then all of a sudden stopped moving and seemed to be playing dead. I became concerned and freed the firefly in my window box of alfalfa sprouts where he is still resting. I hope I haven't hurt him! Does anyone know if fireflies may be poisoned by marigolds? It's just the change in his behavior was very sudden and I only handled him with the gentliest of care. :) Brooklyn NY June 28, 2005 9 pm 80 degress, humid. One firefly, black with red head, blinking happily...
July 12, 2002: A reader notes: Hello, I enjoyed your web page about fireflies and the information provided. Fireflies are alive and well here in Brooklyn, New York. They are quite visible and plentiful in parks and grassy areas. I had not noticed fireflies in past summers so I do not know if they are fewer in number than in years past. But I do have childhood memories of catching them in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and they seem just as plentiful here. I do not know why they caught my attention and curiosity this year--perhaps I am evolving spiritually and am more mindful of nature ... perhaps I am experiencing the world from a new perspective (since I am a now a 2nd grade teacher) ... perhaps the fireflies WERE fewer in number and less visible last year....the latter being a very scary thought! In any event,your website is very informative and alerted me to a potential disaster! I would hate to see this incredible bug become extinct!

Catskills:

July 23, 2001: A reader notes: I've been wondering how to get fireflies in my backyard, and went searching the web and found your site. If you figure it out (or find a mail-order source) please let me know! My uncle has fireflies in his yard in the Catskills, New York. He's in zone 5 or maybe 4, so they can take the cold. His yard is mowed, but maybe only a few times a year (right before we visit, I suspect) and has a wide variety of short plants in it. Grass, moss, yarrow, sheep sorrel, cinquefoil, wild strawberry, and who knows what else. There are damp woods nearby with oak, sassafras, blueberry, laurel, and their allies. He doesn't have tons of fireflies, but there are always enough to chase and catch some.

Herkimer:

July 19, 2002: Annemarie reports: Hi there, I live in Ontario, Canada, where we do have fireflies. I just wanted you to know that while I was visiting some friends just outside of Herkimer, New York, I saw an over abundance of fireflies. It was beautiful! I thought we had lots in Ontario, but they have so may more. It was like a light show. I just thought you may like to hear that. Good luck in getting them back.

Hudson Valley:

June 25, 1999: A reader reports: I was just doing a search under Fireflies and came across your site. We moved to the mid-Hudson valley area of New York last September and are enjoying the fireflies every night. They started in May and some nights are better than others, but it is usually quite a light show.

Jeffersonville:

June 13, 1999: A reader notes: We moved to Jeffersonville, New York, on February 1, 1999. We came from Montana. As spring began to progress here, we heard that fireflies come out in July. I was elated to know that such creatures were in the state because as a very small child I had read a story about fireflies and have always wanted to see them. Three nights ago, on a very warm evening, a friend and I were sitting by a stream and looking at the stars twinkle. As my eyes scanned the clear skies from horizon to horizon, it suddenly dawned on me that the 'stars' were twinkling in the bushes as well. My friend giggled at me and said, 'those are fireflies'. It was a wonderful, magical, awesome sight! Last night I took my two young daughters outside, and meaning to give them a special surprise told them, "you have to see something." They were thrilled and guessed immediately what I wanted to show them. They caught three fireflies and we took them indoors to examine them. By morning, there was only one living firefly and the remains of another. Seems as though the female eats the male????
I've just finished reading of your desire to re-introduce these wonderful bugs to the Houston area, and your a query for information (as I searched for the same via the Internet to learn more about them...)
I can tell you that there are masses of them here in our area. The state is vegetated with lush undergrowth and thick groves of numerous types of trees. It is extremely humid, although the temperatures may not reach as high as in Houston. Of course, winter here is cold, long, and snowy.
I did notice on a drive in the country last evening, that as we neared town, the numbers of fireflies seemed to decrease dramatically. It appeared as though they like to be the center of attention without the distraction of imitation lighting!

Manhattan:

June 29, 2002: Romeo Salta notes: We have them in Manhattan, New York, so it's not lights. We also had alot of spraying for mosquitoes. I just saw a buch of them flying around Lincoln Center! I also accidentally killed some on our terrace. They layed eggs all over my asiatic lillies (also in Manhattan). So try some lillies!
July 27, 2000: Shelly Moore notes: I haven't finished reading your webpage yet, but I want to let you know about my firefly sighting last weekend in the middle of New York City. I recently moved to the upper east side of Manhattan, and I was out on my terrace last Saturday night around 9 pm. I live on the sixth floor, and there are some trees behind my building (and behind the trees, another building). I was looking down towards the garden below, and I saw something blinking near the ground. Then I noticed that there were several blinking things between the ground and the sixth floor. I was astonished to see them here, because I assumed they were strictly a rural phenomena (I remember catching them as a kid when I visited my family in rural Pennsylvania). So I just thought you might like some more evidence against the "city lights" theory. Good luck! =)

New York City:

June 19, 2006: Greg writes:I came home from work and found a firefly in my apartment in the Bronx, a densely-populated borough of New York City north of Manhattan and Queens. He/she was shining away as proud as can be in my kitchen. I live across the street from an 800-acre park (which contains a major zoo and botanical gardens) and there are a lot of trees in the neighborhood. My apartment building surrounds a large courtyard with trees but no water except when it rains. It will probably be happier in the park.
July 5, 2005: A reader writes: In the lower east side of New York City, New York, , in a rare section with much greenery, fireflies were sighted over three consecutive evenings (after an evening of rain). The second night there were many fewer. On the third night there were even more than the first (maybe thirty?).
June 30, 2002: A reader notes: Greetings! Yes, I have seen fireflies in New York City. In fact, they tend to fly around Central Park beginning around 8:40 pm, and they're the reason I take the dog for a walk at that time. I'm hoping that one night, I'll see them swarming in the North Meadow, but it's hard to stay in the park after dark, and feel safe. I have a question for you, however. Where do fireflies make their homes? Sweet Dreams.
August 4, 2000: A reader notes: We just returned from a trip to New York City and were delighted to see hundreds of fireflies in the plants close to Columbus Circle in Central Park. Being from California this was only my second and my son's first time ever to see a firefly. My son was able to get them to land on a stick so that we could observe them up close. We were so excited and charmed that we went back the next night to enjoy the show. We had just spent two weeks in upstate New York and Maine and didn't see one firefly. We thought it pretty funny that we had to go to the city to see them. It just proves, once again, that NYC has a little of everything!
July 17, 2001: A reader notes: Hi. We don't live in Texas, so maybe this doesn't interest you. But we do live in New York City, where there are MANY lights, of course. And we do see many fireflies. So I don't think the possible theory about city lights keeping fireflies away is correct. We live in an apartment complex where there are quite a few trees and grassy areas (by NYC standards, anyway). We see many fireflies on summer evenings, which delights our daughters! I have also wondered what they eat and would be interested to hear any information you have received about that.
July 2, 1999: A reader reports: There are many, many fireflies to be seen behind the Museum of Natural History in New York City at twilight-there is a small field on the Columbus Avenue side of the Museum that is full of them.

Old Catham:

June 25, 1999: A long-time reader reports: Hello again from upstate New York (Old Chatham-about 20 minutes east of Albany). Tonight I have not seen even one firefly. Usually by this time of the evening (9:30 pm) they are numerous and quite active. However, it is about 67 degrees Fahrenheit and 100% humidity, although it is no longer raining. Two weeks ago when it was a bit warmer and less humid there were at least 30 fireflies in the yard, especially under the trees and bushes. They seem to prefer to be near some cover. I really enjoy your web site enormously, and I love reading other people's comments about their firefly watching activities. Thank you for an entertaining and informative place to visit. I find myself coming back often.

Ossining:

July 24, 2001: A reader notes: I was visiting a brother in Ossining, New York and the first night I told my wife, "Let's go out and see if there are any lighting bugs." It was approximately 8:30 pm, and can tell you that there were literally hundreds. We watched for about an hour, and noticed that the later it got, the higher they seemed to fly. The back yard is about 1/2 acre and has lots of mature landscaping including trees, and several types of large (but close to the ground) bushes and shrubs. Strange as it sounds, I managed to bring about 30 of them back to Denver, Colorado. I released them at about 4.pm on the 23rd of July and was very pleased to see most (if not all) of them flashing away around 8:30 that night. I will look again the next few nights. Our back yard is smaller, but we have a small fish pond, much mature landscaping including lilac, violets, and several types of wild flowers that seem to be ideal for daytime use. Wish me luck.

Queens:

July 27, 1999: A reader reports: There are fireflies in Queens, NY, a borough of New York City. This is a major urban area.

Rochester:

July 19, 2002: A reader writes: There have been fireflies in my backyard nearly every evening over the last several weeks. In the period of a minute, I may see 6 or 8 "winks" of light. This is within the city limits of Rochester, NY, 14620. The fireflies do, as another person wrote, seem to appear just before full dark and then disappear within the hour. I see them over my flower beds, which in the last weeks have had mostly lilies in bloom.
July 30, 2000: A reader writes: I just wanted to let you know that we get quite a few fireflies up here in a suburb of Rochester, New York. They are only here in July and August but are quite numerous. We live on a street without street lights and they are usually out at dusk and early evening. Good luck in reintroducing them to Houston.
July 22, 1998: A reader notes: In Rochester NY, we have found a few fireflies left, but not as many as 17 years ago. They are also smaller. They seem to be hanging around cow corn fields. I am going to try to breed them in Oregon.

Saratoga Springs:

June 5, 1999: A reader notes: I am a poet in residence at Yaddo artists colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. I saw fireflies last night in the garden.

Southampton:

June 7, 2012: A reader reports: Where: Southampton, New York. When: June 7, 2012, 11:30 pm. Male sighted- flying very high. White light. Not yellow green. Earliest sighting yet!

Syracuse:

June 1, 2013: A reader writes: We spotted our first firefly of 2013 tonight, June 1, in our backyard in a suburb of Syracuse, New York. We have been seeking fireflies in both Rochester and Syracuse for the past couple of years. We have seen a couple of spectacular displays. But there is rarely more than a couple fireflies in my backyard.

Upstate New York:

July 20, 1998: Paige Harrison writes: I see fireflies all the time in upstate New York. Specifically the countryside about 20 miles from Albany. I saw maybe fifty yesterday evening at around nine p.m. It was 75 degrees F. and less than 50% humidity.

Yorktown:

June 9, 2012: A reader reports: Hi. I just spotted my first firefly for 2012, in the front garden at dusk in Yorktown, New York. Itís two weeks earlier than last yearís first spotting.

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