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


July 1, 2001: A reader writes: Don't know if you're still interested in info about firefly sightings, but here goes anyway. First a brief history of how I found your web sight. I am a native Oklahoman who spent a short time in Houston (1994-1997). When I lived there (Missouri City area) I missed seeing fireflies in my yard, as I had always looked on them as the sign of summer just around the corner. Curious as to why I saw very few fireflies in the Houston area, I searched the internet and came upon your site.
On moving back to Oklahoma, this time to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, (40 miles north of Tulsa), I was pleasantly surprised to see those wondrous "blinking lights" in my back yard our first summer here. We live in a 20-yr old residential area that is heavily wooded with large, mature native oaks, willows and maples. In addition, we have a 40-ft "utility and drainage easement", known to Houstonians as a bayou, that is on the back side of our property. This ends in a small (2-5 acre) swampy, wooded area behind the houses on the opposite side of the street. Our back yard is heavily wooded/shaded, with lots of low-growing under native plantings and is a moist, damp environment in all but the driest summer weeks (mid July to early Sept). The front yard, in contrast, is "manicured" with vast areas of open, sunny lawn. We only see fireflies in the back yard, where it is more humid and with more dense plantings and I would have to say we see at best a "moderate" number of fireflies.
However, just yesterday we went to the Tall-Grass Prairie Preserve about 40 miles west to do some star-gazing. This is a 30,000+ acre prairie preserve maintained by the Nature Conservancy. As you can surmise by the name, this is a huge area with few trees and lots of native prairie grass. We arrived in time to watch a stunning sunset and settled in for a "moonlight picnic". Our objective was star-gazing, but as it turned out we spent more time looking at or near the ground than at the skies. We were overwhelmed by the sight of fireflies emerging as darkness descended. Not just the "moderate" numbers we see in our yard. MILLIONS of fireflies were all around us as far as the eye could see. I have never in my wildest imagination seen these numbers of fireflies!! Imagine fireflies spaced one every 1-2 inches for as far as the eye can see --- on gently rolling prairie. It was truly astounding! My husband and I discussed the fact that this went against our preconceived idea that fireflies prefer damp, wooded areas.
To bring this long commentary to a close, I agree with your idea that the secret to bringing fireflies back to any area is the right habitat. But to me, this sighting only confounds the issue of what the right habitat is. Perhaps the secret lies in having dense grassy areas that are allowed to grow to a height of 12-30 inches, instead of being routinely mowed in the way we usually maintain our lawns. Of course, this also promotes those pesky insects such as mosquitoes and chiggers, not to mention how "unsightly" it looks to the neighbors. Oh well, we can't have our cake and eat it, too.


June 6, 2005: Tammy writes: Hollis, Oklahoma. June 5th, 2005. A warm, balmy night. Hail storms surrounded several counties close to our town. We had no rain or storm of any kind. I noticed several lightning bugs late in the evening (about 9:30 p.m.) as I was walking across the road to take out the trash. I have several large fruitless mulberry trees on the side of my house, which make the darkness of the evening appear more black than actual. The bugs were flashing off and on brightly, reminding me of Tinkerbell. I went into the house to get my daughter to come out and see the bugs, yet they suddenly decided to disappear, as if they caught a case of stage fright. Later on that night, my daughter woke my husband up to report something in her room. She said she initially thought the flashing lights in her room were car lights passing by, then she realized they weren't. One brave little lightning bug had made it inside our house. I guess he decided my daughter deserved an encore presentation, even if only a small one.


September, 1993: Maria Trevino saw massive numbers of fireflies in a field about 5 miles from Tahlequah, Oklahoma in a rural area.

September, 1993: Maria Trevino saw massive numbers of fireflies in a field about 5 miles from Tahlequah, Oklahoma in a rural area.


Mid May, 1998: A reader writes: I back up to a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We've lived here about five years. From the middle of May we have seen more fireflies than ever, a great abundance. Last year was good also, but this year it almost takes me back to my childhood there are so many.

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