Will You Help Bring Back the Fireflies? Why or Why Not?

Discussion in Off Topic Discussion & General Questions started by mythman • Aug 21, 2014.

  1. mythman

    mythmanActive Member

    Mar 21, 2014
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    Firefly.org says that the firefly-population is dwindling due to light-polution (as fireflies most-often communicate by the timing of their light-flashes, timing that's knocked out by manmade light-interruptions like flashlights & car-headlights ... not to mention the possibility that their light might be 'drowned-out' by manmade light, the same way there are fewer visible stars in the sky when you look from a city) & city-development (that 'paves paradise to put up a parking-lot'---paving-over their typical environment of forests at the edges of lakes).

    Here's how firefly.org says

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    (and why I can or can't help):
    • Turn off outside lights at night - I don't own property, and the little apartment I lease has control over only-one outdoor light---and that's lighting up a paved, almost-indoor area (where I imagine we want fewer bugs!)
    • Let logs and litter accumulate - again, I don't own/rent any property with the power to do such.
    • Create water features in your landscape - see above
    • Avoid use of pesticides - never started using pesticides; how can I stop?
    • Use natural fertilizers - see above
    • Don't over-mow your lawn - My complex DOES have a couple 'lawns' for the neighbors to ... do ... lawn ... things (I dunno what), but I think we only mow them as often as the owners pay the maintenence-workers to do so.
    • Plant trees - maybe I could suggest this to management.
    • Do NOT introduce earthworms to you yard - "They are not native to any of the northern United States or Canada. Any worms that were here originally were wiped out during the last glaciation. ... The impact of earthworms is not limited to plants. The reduction in plant diversity and leaf litter affects the habitat and food availability of insects such as fireflies, which affects the food chain on up, reducing the food available to reptiles, amphibians, birds and small mammals. The earthworms we currently have in the region (of North America) are of European origin (which are the same species that you can pick up at a bait shop) and were introduced by settlers ~300 years ago and have been on a human aided journey west since then. These non-native earthworms are contributing to some ecological effects in these glaciated areas that for the last ~12,000 years developed earthworms free. There are native earthworms along the East coast of North America but these populations are small and localized. Current research in that area is showing that these non-native earthworms are having negative effects on native earthworm species also." I didn't bring `em!
    • Talk to your neighbors - This is the most I can do ... maybe talking to the couple of places I know of (churches, mostly) that own control over their grounds.

    Perhaps a more-important question is "Why should we save fireflies?" The only good reason I can see here is the chemicals that produce the light. Neverminding the names (luciferin & luciferase :p) the chemicals react measurably to diseased tissue, help find life in outer-space & detect food-spoilage (signs that more fireflies should be raised IN LABORATORIES, though the younger fireflies might help get rid of OTHER, human-eating bugs ;))
  2. Jake

    JakeActive Member

    Aug 14, 2014
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    Wow, I have not paid any real attention to this matter. I did not for once think that they were in danger. I have not seen one in ages though. I used to see plenty of these little bugs as a kid and now maybe not so much. I will keep an eye out for them, I hope that they are still a number of them in my area. Thanks for the tips!

    ACSAPAWell-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2012
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    I like fireflies but as a renter, I don't have much control over the outside lighting or landscaping of my building. I live on the second floor, so I don't know if the courtyard has earthworms.
    I'm not really much use in this case but I hope they don't all die out.
  4. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrakeActive Member

    Oct 30, 2013
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    Many of the commercial earthworms here in Florida are African night-crawlers. My grandfather developed commercial worm-farming from worms left at his fish camp by African-Americans. I don't know how they affect fire-flies.
    I don't know if these are as damaging as the other species of earth-worms, but I know that they are far better bait.
  5. Andrea Phillips

    Andrea PhillipsActive Member

    Jan 18, 2015
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    I remember fireflies, they were my childhood friends. They were such a wonder. Their disappearance is a testimony to how the environment is so out of cycle. Very few areas are able to confirm to the points you mentioned above. I would not like them to be raised in laboratories.