Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What Happened to the Lightning Bugs?


As a child growing up in Alabama, one of my favourite things to do in the Summertime was catch lightning bugs. I think they are mostly known as fireflies, but we always called them lightning bugs.

It stayed daylight up until after 8pm in the Summertime,and we would stay outside until it got nearly dark. We would have our mason jars in hand, waiting for the first little flickers of light to appear. There would be
just a couple at first, then all of a sudden there would be hundreds of them.

I always wondered where they came from. Were they hiding in the grass? How come you never saw them except at night? We caught them in our jars by the dozens. We just loved to sit there and watch them light up one by one.

We would eventually let them go, but it was always funs racing around the yard trying to catch them, and see who could catch the most.

As I got older, the lightning bugs seemed to fade as years went by. It got to the point, I didn't see them much, if at all. Where did they go? Was it because the little girl had grown up, and that lightning bugs weren't as fascinating to her now?

It wasn't until right before I moved to Canada that I saw a few one evening, but it still wasn't like it was in the mid 70's when I was a young girl.

We don't have lightning bugs in BC, as far as I can tell. I haven't ever seen one.

I would love for my future children to have memories such as this, and I hope that one day the lightening bugs will come again.

j.butterfly
www.gadgeteer.net/southgirl

9 comments:

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

I loved catching the lite'ng bugs in jars and watching them fly around in there are bright and shiny.

You know, I still live in the South, and maybe it's the area, but so far my children have not really gotten to experience the joy of watching them at night. There's hardly any around here.

Sad.

Romani Heart said...

We still have alot of them here, but it does seem there are fewer then when I was a kid.

aka_Meritt said...

It just depends on if your town/city sprays for mosquitos or not. The last few towns we lived in sprayed during the summer, which killed the lightening bugs off as well. If we saw 5 in an entire summer we were lucky.

But we were VERY excited to see that our current home, although they DO spray here, our cul-de-sac is right next to a big old corn field on the edge of town so we were blessed with plenty of the little beauties.

If you come visit me next summer we can catch fireflies together!

poopie said...

Living on a farm, I'm right smack in the middle of lightnin' bug heaven! Of course it's also mosquito heaven and snake heaven and....

YellowRose said...

It had been a long time...many years since I had seen a lighting bug, but when we moved to Georgia, we saw a lot of them. Talk about feeling nostalgic! I wanted to grab a mason jar and catch me some!

Dana said...

I loved catching lightning bugs in mason jars!

We have them here, but not as many in the last few years than before, but my kids have had chances to catch them.

Mom said...

I've seen a few lightning bugs this summer....so maybe they are on the comeback!:) We can only hope...they do bring back memories. But, I am glad to that you have wonderful memories of catching them when you were little. But, one correction...I didn't CAN anything when you were young...so you didn't use a Mason Jar...you used pickle jars that I would wash out for you!:)
Love, Mom

Dana said...

Is that MY mom? Hey! (waving) Cool!

Mr. Bee said...

I've noticed that Fireflies are slowly making a come-back here in our area. This summer we had one spell when they were very numerous.

It's funny how we humans can come to like certain bugs and dislike or hate others. My mother's biggest fear about Fireflies was that one might crawl into her children's ears and cause problems.

We do not realize that activities such as children catching them and keeping them in jars, even for a little while can have an affect on their numbers over time. Also, I've discovered by doing some investigating about Fireflies that Fireflies have a specific predator that drastically affects their numbers. There is a cannibalistic Beetle that also has a light it can flash and lure mating Fireflies to itself, at which time it captures, kills and consumes the true Fireflies. The more success it has, the more it's numbers increase...thus...over time, it eats itself out of business and causes it's own decrease in numbers. Is this nature's own means of population control? I can understand that all factors can result in a "cycle" of sorts, naturally.

I wish we would see a return of Whip-poor-wills. I sure miss them calling in the evening like they did when I was young, living out in the countryside.