Seen Fireflies in the Hudson Valley? You’re Not Supposed to Yet
Hudson Valley residents are confused by very early firefly sightings in the Hudson Valley, but there may be a scientific explanation for the strange anomaly.
Just last week I was standing outside waiting for my son’s swimming practice to end when some strange flashing lights at the end of the parking lot caught my attention. As I moved closer to inspect these peculiar lights I stopped and did a double take. They appeared to be lightning bugs.
After confirming my suspicion, I couldn’t believe that I was seeing fireflies in the beginning of May. Every summer my son would love collecting lightning bugs and I specifically remembered them not coming out until at least the end of June when the weather was much warmer. So why were these fireflies doing their little electric dance so early in the season?
Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s noticed this strange phenomenon. Social media has been buzzing with reports from confused Hudson Valley residents who are also boggled as to why they’re seeing fireflies dancing around before Memorial Day.
It turns out that there are a couple of good reasons why these insects have decided to make an early arrival this year. According to The Farmer’s Almanac, unseasonably warm temperatures can cause fireflies to become confused, thinking that it’s later in the season than it actually is. Do you remember that heat wave we had a few weeks back when temperatures were in the 90s? Well, it looks like that and the lack of snow this winter may have played a part in tricking the local lightning bug population.
All the warmth from early summers and mild winters fools lightning bugs into thinking it’s later in the season than it really is, and so they emerge sooner.
Besides warm temperatures, especially moist conditions can also have a ripple effect that causes adult fireflies to begin dancing in the dark earlier. That long stretch of rain during the first week of May helped supply a buffet of nourishment for lightning bug larvae that feed on snails, slugs and other insects that come out in damp conditions. According to The Farmer’s Almanac, the damper the soil the more food there is for young fireflies to eat.
Aside from lightning bugs showing up early, this also means that they’re expected to be seen in much larger numbers this year. Because of the optimal conditions and the ability of more young fireflies to survive through adulthood, you can expect to see a spectacular display of lights later this summer.
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