This from Patrick Beach on his new weather blog: It’s not your imagination, according to Wizzie Brown, an extension program specialist in Austin for the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. She’s seeing a lot more than normal, too. And all the recent rain, whether enough to bust the drought or not, is the reason.You might be seeing something after dark in your backyard that you haven’t seen much if at all through these years of drought: fireflies.
“The larvae are typically found in a wetland-type environment. And since we’ve been in a drought, that wasn’t available. There are benefits to all this rain and one of them is the return of fireflies.”
A few fun facts from firefly.org, which has more than you’d ever care to know about lightning bugs. Isn’t “lightning bug” a more fun and dramatic name? Let’s stick with that.
They light up mostly as part of their mating dance, although they also do it to signal others or warn predators. If you see one flying it’s typically a male, flitting about like a bro in a singles bar at closing time, while the females hang out on the ground or in trees and roll their eyes.
Light pollution, loss of habitat and natural predators are factors that can affect the number of fireflies. If you want to see more of them, turn off your outside lights at night.
One more thing: They’re not flies. They’re beetles.
Do you have fun lightning bug photos? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and if we get enough we’ll post a gallery.