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


July 10, 2000: Jan Erdman writes: I live in Appleton, Wisconsin, in the east central part of the state, about 30 miles south of Green Bay and 100 miles norh of Milwaukee. During the week of July 3rd, I saw three fireflies in my backyard. I live in a city of 100,000 and my yard is less than a mile from the city center so it is quite "urban." My yard is mowed lawn with extensive flower beds and an area at the rear of the lot that is naturalized. The weather that evening was warm and humid. I have not seen any fireflies for, maybe, 30 years. I was delighted to see them again though I haven't seen them again thus far this summer. When I was a child fireflies were abundant even in town. We captured them in jars but they would die overnight. We had no sense of species eradication at that time. In fact, it was 60 years ago and those kinds of problems were unknown to us. The biggest thrill back then was driving through the country at night. Thousands of fireflies could be seen over hay fields. The hay was not timothy grass but alfalfa. Thank you for campaigning for these critters. I hope you get an abundant crop down in Texas.

Fort Atkinson:

August 6, 2000: A reader writes: Saw an article in the syndicated 'Access' insert in today's Denver Post. I've always been fascinated by fireflies since I was a small boy growing up in Wisconsin in the 40's and 50's. Except that there were no fireflies in my hometown, Ft. Atkinson, WI. The first time I saw them was a family visit to relatives living in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. This was probably in '49 or '50. The lack of fireflies in my hometown has changed, however. I spent the last two weeks in July visiting my sisters and their families. While there, in Ft. Atkinson, WI. , I was very excited to see fireflies once again. (We have no fireflies here in the Denver area.) I saw them both in the city (a town of about 10,000) and in a rural area. In both areas, it was what I would call dusk. It was getting dark, but not dark enough for me to get a time-exposure photograph. I waited for darker conditions, but by that time the fireflies were gone. Both rural/city sighting locations were on a grass lawn near (and away from) a house. I saw, perhaps, a dozen fireflies at each location. Good luck in your endeavors. Hope that the Houston firefly population increases. Send any extras up here.

East Troy:

August 8, 2000: A reader writes: I live in East Troy, Wisconsin, located southwest of Milwaukee about 35 miles. I have noticed the fireflies this year in our area to be extraordinarily obvious. I cannot honestly state that at this time last year I had even a mental note of seeing any though I'm sure I did see them, but this year, wow! I see kids out chasing them, and catching them, and I see fireflies by the hundreds and all different sizes. Just seems like they are everywhere in mass quantity.


August 6, 2000: A reader writes: I recently became aware of your interest in fireflies. I live in Fredonia, Wisconsin, a small town approximately 30 miles north of Milwaukee. Our 55 acre country home has a small creek running through the middle of it. Bordering the creek is wild vegetation, and adjacent to that is approximately 250 feet of a non-worked grassy field. I first noticed this year's lightning bug population appear, I would have to say the second week in June and have seen the last of them the early part on this week. There activity was noticed right at sundown and could still be observed just before dawn. Let me reassure you that there is definitely no shortage of these glowing bugs in my area. During my sightings I noted no less that several hundred of them lighting up the area at one time, this of course was during their peak population. I hope this information has helped, and please feel free to E-mail me if you would like more. Happy bug hunting.


August 7, 2000: A reader notes: We live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and see fireflies in and around where we live, mostly away from the inner part of the city where the lights are bright. On Sunday evening, August 6, 2000, while sitting in our daughter's back yard at 9:00 pm, there were many sparkles in the dark of the evening, which is always a pleasure. This area is suburban and has many trees and foliage. Our children always enjoyed catching them and putting them in jar to watch up close.
August 6, 2000: A reader writes: I live in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on a normal city lot. My lot is practically overrun with fireflies, even the neighborhood kids have noticed this fact. If we go out around dusk it would be difficult to look in any direction over our lot for more than a minute without seeing several fireflies. What is unusual about this is that they would appear to be confined to my city lot. Essentially the only differences I can attribute to this is that I have been using a mulching lawn mower for many years and unlike many of my neighbors I do not use a professional lawn service for weed control. I have found that the mulching lawn mower combined with one or two simple applications of Ortho Weed-B-Gone is all that is necessary. I attribute the large population of fireflies to cutting the lawn with a mulching mower and not removing the mulch and very limited use of commercial fertilizers and weed control.
August 8, 2000: A reader notes: First time on your web site, like to let you know that we have a lot of fireflies around here in the North West Side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We live in a condo and have a lot of green around here. There are some street lights. Every night while I'm walking my dog there are plenty of flies over the grassy area.
July 8, 1999: A reader notes: Milwaukee is blessed with an abundance of firefly activity. In the past four or five years they have emerged in early June. This year I was thinking that they may not come back at all since I had seen none by the third week in June. I could not have been farther from the truth. The last week in June they came out with a vengeance; sitting on my front porch just before and at dusk, right smack dab in the middle of a major metropolitan area, I could see one flash somewhere in my line of sight every three to four seconds. By the weekend of the fourth of July (the temperature was in the high 80's to low 90's), at any given time there were at least three bugs lit somewhere in the neighborhood that I could see; it really looked like the neighborhood was lit by a giant chain of flashing green Christmas lights. Tonight on the 8th, the activity has diminished somewhat, and a lot of the flashes are coming from the ground, rather mid air. Looks like the poor critters are pooped after such a busy week. I look forward to next year.


August 6, 2000: A reader notes: I just read your blip in the Access section of our Sunday paper. We recently moved to Monticello, Wisconsin, and I have never seen so many fireflies in my entire life. Hundreds of them every night. Monticello is in the southern part of the state. A very rural and small community. I don't know what attracts them unless its water. We have a lake in our town and a river that runs through. We used to live only an hour north of here and we very rarely saw fireflies there and that was also a rural community. It's really a beautiful and amazing thing.


June 24, 1999: A reader notes: I was in Newburg, WI from June 17-20 and saw almost 20 of these luminescent beings each night at twilight. What feelings of innocence and love they stir in my heart. They flirted with each other above the pond and between the trees. Just Heavenly!


July 19, 2002: A reader writes: I just found your site and love fireflies. We called them lightening bugs when we were young. They are around in Phelps, Wisconsin, which is close to the upper peninsula of Michigan. One had gotten into our bedroom and I so enjoyed laying in bed and watching him. They amaze me. I wish there were more around here, but I only see them in the spring. I remember when we would go outside and watch the sky light up with them. We had fun catching them and putting them in a jar to see how much light they would put off. What a pleasure. Thanks for the site.


July 19, 2002: Barb writes: My name is Barb I am from Plover, Wisconsin. I live in the country on a large marsh with a drainage ditch next to my house. There are no city lights or sprays except for what the farmers put on their crops. I see fireflies most evenings. The weather can be hot or cool but they always seem to be here. I even see them in the house now and then. I enjoy watching them. I believe the ditch is what atracts them because I don't see them around my gardens.


August 7, 2000: A reader notes: I live in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and as I sit here I can look out my window and see a lot of fireflies all over the place. The weather here has been pretty hot & humid. That seems to be when I see fireflies the most. I could go outside with a canning jar and probably catch 25 or more in a very short time. I have been reading your message board and find it very hard to believe that there are people who have never seen fireflies. I guess I didn't realize they aren't as widespread as I thought. We also call them lighting bugs. I have been hearing that ever since I was a kid.

Village of Greendale:

July 14, 2002: Linda Goyette reports: I live in the small Village of Greendale, Wisconsin, and have been seeing fireflies for the past three years around the entire village area. Last night was a particularly lovely night, weather was in the low 80's and our yard is surrounded by trees and quite dark. There must have been over 50 yellow and green fireflies. It looked like little stars that would twinkle off and on. What I am wondering is, if these little insects come in any other colors? As a child, I seem to remember seeing pink and blue fireflies, correct me if I am mistaken.


August 7, 2000: A reader writes: I just returned from a week's visit with my daughter who lives in Watertown, Wisconsin. I was just like a kid when I saw the many, many fireflies in her area. They were in the backyard, over the lush grass, around the many beautiful flowers, and thick over all the soybean fields. They are out only about an hour each evening, and even after a day's rain, and kind of on the cool side, they were still out lighting up!!! I wish we could have them in COLORADO but think it's way too hot and dry here for them. I was so excited about them, I went inside and went to search about fireflies and that is how I ran across your web page. Another bonus is you have CHEROKEE info which I have been researching. So thanks for both!


July 19, 2002: Lynn notes: Yep. We've got them in Wisconsin! I watch everynight. I am in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and live in the middle of the city next to a railroad right-of-way. They come out of my mown lawn . . . or at least we notice them more.


June 23, 2002: A reader notes: Sightings, in Wisconsin, tonight. Sparse sightings of fireflies. Usually our entire woods is lit up and it is more beautiful than garden on the green. Tonight the sightings were sparse. I don't know if I am early or late or if the intense rain has caused the sparse sightings. I want to show my grandson the fireflies. When are they due in Wisconsin?

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