Home / news / Fireflies under threat from habitat loss, pesticides and light pollution. There are over 2,000 species of the beloved insects but experts say: ‘If people want fireflies in the future we need to look at this’

Fireflies under threat from habitat loss, pesticides and light pollution. There are over 2,000 species of the beloved insects but experts say: ‘If people want fireflies in the future we need to look at this’

Fireflies under threat from habitat loss, pesticides and light pollution. There are over 2,000 species of the beloved insects but experts say: ‘If people want fireflies in the future we need to look at this’

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38 comments

  1. I already see this happening in Missouri. It could just be me, but I remember going outside when I was around 8-12 (am 22 now) and catching fireflies all the time. It might’ve just been my imagination, but I remember seeing them every where and quite a bit of them. Now, when I go to that same city I have to go to the outskirts and enjoy them where the forest is most dense. I enjoy them a lot more out there, they put on quite the show but I don’t see them in town as often.

  2. I live rural. My daughter has never seen a firefly and thought they were make believe like other things she’s only seen on TV. I’ve since planted 2 acres of nothing but wood oats and the fireflies only showed up in small amounts this year. In contrast, I distinctly know the taste of fireflies because it used to be impossible to ride a bike in spring at dusk without inhaling a few

  3. Well it was cool while you lived. RIP Fireflies.

  4. With all the terrible news that has happened over since the start of the year it is easy to forget that the world is dying and we’re hell bent on killing it with gusto

  5. > Most firefly species aren’t well documented in terms of populations, with substantial data only existing for a few, such as the common European glowworm and a separate species found in Malaysia. But these records have shown declines, raising concerns that fireflies could be facing the sort of woes that have sparked fears elsewhere of a broader crisis in the insect world.

    **:[**

  6. Stop using pesticides in your yard people! There’s no reason to.

  7. Anyone with a yard can help support diversity by limiting pesticide use and planting native plants.

    There is a tendency to dose suburban lawns in pesticides. This isn’t always necessary, particularly if you’re willing to do some light weeding yourself. [Smart lawn care to protect pollinators – MSU Extension](https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/smart_lawn_care_to_protect_pollinators) / [A Home Gardener’s Guide To Safe, Bee-Friendly Pesticides](https://gardencollage.com/wander/gardens-parks/home-gardeners-guide-safe-bee-friendly-pesticides/).

    Lots of yards are relatively barren except for Bermuda grass. Adding a range of native plants can do a lot to help local pollinators. [The Pollinator Partnership has planting guides for the US and Canada](https://pollinator.org/guides). (If your zip/postal code doesn’t work, try a few nearby ones. Or download a few that sound like they might be right and check the map in the guide).

    [Common Serviceberry](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelanchier_arborea), [Eastern Redbud](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercis_canadensis), [Western Redbud](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercis_occidentalis), [American Witch Hazel](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamamelis_virginiana), [Flowering Dogwood](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornus_florida), [Pacific Dogwood](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornus_nuttallii), [Pagoda Dogwood](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornus_alternifolia), [White fringetree](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chionanthus_virginicus), [Desert Willow](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilopsis) are all attractive small trees that can help support pollinators. Each link shows the tree’s native range. They should be easy to order through a local nursery.

  8. Human growth will ultimately snuff out all other life on this planet until humans are gone.

  9. There are a lot in my woods, if anyone knows how to help them thrive let me know I’m in.

  10. I’m not even all that old, but I know for a fact there are less fireflies in the Midwest than there were even 5ish years ago. 10 years ago there were so many you could run around with a jar and collect them out of the air. 5 years ago, they were definitely more rare, but I thought maybe it was just too hot for them. I don’t think I’ve seen even one since I graduated college.

  11. Already extinct in India, completely wiped out.

  12. I guess that means this is the second time a corporation killed a Firefly.

  13. Totally anecdotal, but I feel like I’ve seen WAY fewer than i did 20 years ago.

  14. 90% gone from where I grew up.

  15. At the hospital I work at we have this device that uses firefly-materials to verify if a surface has been sterilized by this super sterilization machine. The company is called Suretrends.

  16. My area in southeastern NC got hit hard by unlicensed cash-grabbing insecticide spray trucks around the time of the Zika virus and I don’t think the fireflies ever really recovered. The awful thing is that we consider teh fireflies because they are visible but there is so much else going on in the insect world that we never see and it’s just as important and valuable as lightning bugs.

  17. There’s definitely been a decline here in SC. In the early 90’s I would watch them swarm in the back yard throughout the summer with my dad or while visiting friends and playing outside. Now, I’m lucky to spot a dozen at once a few times a year, and that’s while living in a fairly remote and overgrown place near a pond.

  18. I’ve noticed their decline for years. They used to be everywhere on summer nights as a kid. Now I rarely see them. It’s not just fireflies. We’re wiping out/have wiped out large portions of the ecosystem with pestacide use.

  19. I own an acre and a half of wetland property in western MA. This past summer, we had 3 mating swarms of fireflies: orange, blue, and green lights. There were thousands of them, to the point where standing outside in the dark was like being in outer space surrounded by stars.?Here’s how to get them in your yard:

    1. Stop using pesticides. They interfere with the food chain. We don’t use them and have no mosquitoes or ticks in our yard…because we have bats, crickets, and possums that eat them. I can stand on my porch on the hottest, most humid summer evening and not get a single mosquito bite. And I can walk around my yard without a single tick.

    2. Stop mowing all your lawn. Leaving an overgrown area of mixed grasses, clovers, and flowers attracts beneficial bugs and animals to your yard.

    3. Get rid of invasive plants and encourage native plants. That’s what the wildlife eats.

  20. Are you saying we might have to build a lot of *graves of the fireflies*, because I don’t know if I can handle more than one.

  21. Well everyone is like, the world will cap at so and so billions, am I the only one who thinks there’s already way too many people?

  22. This is the best tl;dr I could make, [original](https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/04/fireflies-under-threat-habitat-loss-pesticides-light-pollution) reduced by 77%. (I’m a bot)
    *****
    > Amid a range of threats, an academic survey of firefly experts from around the world found that habitat loss is considered the heaviest pressure on the insects, which include more than 2,000 species.

    > Fireflies have also suffered from the explosion in light pollution over the past century, a problem that scientists have warned is driving the decline of other insects, especially moths.

    > "People, certainly in the US, who don't like insects would say, 'I love fireflies and I'll do anything to conserve them.' We want a world where they are still around. At least with light pollution there's an easy way to reverse things – you just turn off the lights.”

    *****
    [**Extended Summary**](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/eyra0i/fireflies_under_threat_from_habitat_loss/) | [FAQ](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/31b9fm/faq_autotldr_bot/ “Version 2.02, ~465126 tl;drs so far.”) | [Feedback](http://np.reddit.com/message/compose?to=%23autotldr “PM’s and comments are monitored, constructive feedback is welcome.”) | *Top* *keywords*: **firefly**^#1 **insect**^#2 **light**^#3 **species**^#4 **people**^#5

  23. Grave of the Fireflies RIP

  24. Sucks for y’all, there are still THOUSANDS in my yard every year

  25. My grandparents place had fireflies when I was a kid we used to catch them in jars, now days they’re nowhere to be seen. Whole area got developed

  26. now that you mention it I haven’t seen those little cocksuckers in years

    when I was little you could run around murdering them right out of the air with various implements. if you hit them just right with a badminton racket they’d explode like little fireworks.

  27. Is there any species that is not under threat, fuck!!!

  28. the fireflies in North Georgia are gone

  29. “If people want…” I think we need to move out of such an anthropocentric perspective and into a holistic worldview. Such as, “fireflies are part on an inextricably linked ecosystem and deserve very much, as does all of life, to be in the future.” Or something to that effect.

  30. You won’t believe your eyes…

  31. sad but i dont think they will exist in the future :/ mostly just gonna be a completely sterilized planet, covered in a huge parking lot…

  32. In rural areas all the farmers have the huge irrigation rigs with flashing lights all night long. I’m surprised if any bugs can get a good night’s rest anymore.

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