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

Adams Township:

July 8, 2005: A reader writes: I live in Adams Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. I have lived 35 miles north of Pgh. in a country area for the past twenty years and have never seen as many "fireflies" as we are seeing this year. Does anyone know why? I mean, driving down my road at night is like warp speed in Starwars.

Allentown:

July 11, 2000: Angel writes: Hi from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Plenty of fireflies here :) Temp is @ 75 degrees, barometer 29.90, slight winds N 7 mph, and Humidity 50%. It's actually very cool here for this time of year. My son was out in the back yard catching the fireflies. He caught about 15 and has them in a bug container where they are flashing. They'll be released in the morning. It's a shame you are having problems spotting the beautiful night lights in Houston. Here in the Lehigh Valley we enjoy them from June until Mid-August early September. They are the sure sign summer has finally arrived. Good luck on your hopes of attracting the night creatures.

Brackenridge:

June 1997: A reader from Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, (approximately 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, on the Allegheny River) reports a very large population of fireflies this summer.

Chester County:

July 9, 2005: Ellen L. Ramsey notes: Greetings. I enjoyed all the information on your website about fireflies. Here's a firefly description to add to your collection. We live in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and as part of our celebration on the Fourth of July weekend, we drove out to Lancaster County on the evening of July 2nd and had dinner at the Bird in Hand restaurant. We drove back home at twilight, and the countryside was flooded with fireflies--they were flying up from the cornfields and cow pastures, and from around the ponds. The lower branches of the pine trees looked like they were sparkling with hundreds of blinking Christmas lights. It was most magical. Even more fun than fireworks! I noticed Nancy Herman's description about seeing so many fireflies in Merion, PA, this year. I have no idea why there might be so many, but it's magnificent to watch them in the evenings.

Deleware County:

July 10, 2000: A reader writes: We have lots of fireflies in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. My daughter loves to catch them and watch them glow!!! She does let them go, they don't seem to live if we keep them. I'd like to know what they eat, or if it is possible to keep them for more than a few hours. Do they live more than one night in the wild? I have searched a lot of info on the net about them and have found very little information. It's interesting that something that creates a feeling of peace and beauty daily for us all is so little researched.

Emmaus:

July 5, 2002: A reader from Pa. notes: Ah, the smell of honeysuckle and the twinkle of fireflies or, as I call them, lightening bugs. Last evening, July 4th 2002, and tonight, July 5th 2002, I was outside in my brothers yard in Emmaus, Pa. and saw hundreds, possibly thousands-hard to tell- of lightening bugs. They were everywhere you looked. Both times it was around 9:00 p.m. when we started to see them and by 9:30 p.m. it didn't matter where you were looking, there they were! When talking to babyboomers or older, we all bring up how we caught them in our youth in the infamous jar with the holes punched in the metal lid. Hmm, do they still make metal lids? I have to think about that. We were out last night pushing through bushes and picking wild black raspberries, my favorite (and hard to buy anywhere) berry. Our hands were stained reddish purple, we got scratches all over us and we only found about a quart of them, but it was worth it. I then went looking for a honeysuckle bush. They are so hard to find anymore. I found one and broke off a small branch to enjoy the smell for awhile. Tonight we played petunque until it got dark and then friends finished the last game with me holding a flashlight on the pig. The torches that we had placed around the petunque court made us feel like we were on the "survivor" TV show but didn't do much to light the court. We commented that the the lightening bugs helped to light the court some since there were so many. It was an absolutely gorgeous night with stars in the sky, no humidity, a breeze blowing and lightening bugs blinking all over. Too bad the honeysuckle bush was way on the other side of the yard, too far for even their fragrance to wonder.

Furlong:

June 29, 2002: T & S Martin write: We could not believe our eyes. We haved seen fireflies every summer but just moved into a home Thursday in Furlong, PA, and tonight just witnessed thousands of fireflies -- to the tops of the tallest trees. Truly the most incredible sight we have ever seen!

Lancaster:

July 15, 1997: A reader reports large numbers of fireflies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Lancaster County:

August 6, 2000: Skip Russell reports: Here in Amish country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, it is our good fortune to start seeing fireflies around the middle of May and continue into late August or early September. Over the fields of Lancaster country it is not unusual to see fireflies numbering in the hundreds of thousands at one field alone ! At times the "lightning bugs" seem to be so numerous as to appear to be a yellow fog over a field of alfalfa. One old saying in our area is that when you no longer see fireflies in the evening, count ahead six weeks, and that's when you will have your first frost of the fall season. Good luck bringing fireflies back to Houston. It just wouldn't be summer without them !

Merion:

July 1, 2005: Nancy Herman writes: I live in Merion, Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia and I have never seen so many fireflies as I have this year. I am 67 so that is quite some time. I was wondering if anyone knows why. I have noticed there don't seem to be any bats around. Could that be it and, if so, where are they?

Philadelphia:

June 28, 2002: A reader reports: I grew up in Philadelphia, Pa. and live just outside there now. There are fireflies all over the place, and always have been. So I don't think lights or pollution have anything to do with it. Philly is very humid, however. It has been said that the weather here in the summer is very much like the tropics.
June 24, 1999:A reader notes: I wish I could help you as much as you have helped me in my search for information about fireflies (we prefer to call the lightning bugs up here). I am in the Philadelphia suburbs and they have just started blinking in my back yard. I wish I could send you some! My son, age 6, and I were trying to figure out where they were before they magically appear and where they go. Your clear concise information cleared up that mystery for us. I'm thinking you missed your calling as an entomologist! Thanks for a great site.

Pittsburg:

July 2, 2002: Mary Anne Meredith writes: We call them lightning bugs in Pittsburgh, PA. Firefly is a much more whimsical name. My theory is that perhaps you don't have enough unmowed areas in Houston. Having never seen the city, I don't know. It seems, however, that having unmowed areas, meadow-like areas, and somewhat wild places increases the number of lightning bugs. Have you tried reintroducing the insect into the Houston area? We are in the middle of a pretty hot spell right now and there are many, many lightning bugs out tonight. A few weeks ago, it was chilly and damp here and I only saw a few, and they weren't lighting at all. Perhaps it is too dry in Houston? Seriously, are there NO fireflies in Houston. What a shame--they are one of summer's special delights.

Rochester:

June 9, 2012: A reader notes: June 9, 2012: I saw hundreds of fireflies here in Rochester, Pennsylvania, more than anyone in the family ever remembers seeing. It was around 10:30 PM, temperature 75, humidity 49 percent, barometer 30.02. Thank you Mother Nature for the amazing show! I wish I had a hammock to sleep on.

Ronke:

August 6, 2000: A reader writes: A while back my husband was at a conference in Philadelphia. After the conference we went up to the Lancaster area. While staying at the Olde Amish Inn in Ronke, PA we went to sit at the picnic table at about 5 PM to share our Amish bread and jam. All of a sudden the show started! The fireflies did this dance, now I'm talking millions of em! They circled around and all of a sudden they paired up and flew out the top of the circle. In about a hour or so they were all gone. The next night we were ready and watched the entire show, we brought our supper this time. I feel it is because the Amish don't spray and also it is quieter and people are not trampling the grass and killing the eggs.

Southeast Pennsylvania:

July 1, 2001: A reader notes: Here in southeast Pennsylvania, we are experiencing our best show in as many years as I can remember. Good luck on your quest!

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