Doesn't take much to amuse us

gandle(4 NE)July 19, 2011

Sitting on the patio watching bugs, well, fireflies to be exact. everything must be to their liking this evening because there are literally hundreds of them. Wish just once they would synchronize their flashing that should be striking.

Some years we don't have many in the back yard but this year we are making up for the shortage of earlier years.

When our kids were small we would take them out north of North Platte where we lived to White Horse creek and there were perhaps thousands of them. Kids would catch a bunch in a jar and turn them loose in our back yard. Didn't work though. Apparently we didn't have the proper habitat for the species they were catching.

I can think of worse ways to spend a warm summer evening than watching fireflies dance in the back yard.

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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

Did you know you can get them to synchronize their flashing? You need a spot far away from city lights and a car to do so: You drive out to a dark field, and park so your lights will shine out over it. Sit in the dark car for a while and just watch them. Then flash your headlights... and watch them respond. You should be able to get a few back and forths. If not, it's a great pretext to get Leonne alone in a dark car on a quiet road for a little while! ;-)

I've never seen as many fireflies as we've had in WI the last few years in my life. Tallulah loves to leap into the air to catch them, and after a few successful attempts, she comes to me for affection, wagging her tail and smiling her weird, glowing smile. Can't help but laugh!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:00AM
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I envy you your fireflies, that is one critter we don't have here in the arid West, must be magical.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:14AM
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Ours have been like tiny, tiny Cristmas lights flashing against the windows at night. As kids we would catch them and hold them gently so we could watch the lights up close. They had a lovely green spot on their behinds.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:27AM
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It is. One night a couple of weeks ago, the little fella and I went out to catch them. Evidently, these were all high flying bugs. They were in the tops of the tree and twinkling and lighting up the trees. You would've enjoyed that magic.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:05AM
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There is a magic time between dusk and dark when multitudes of them appear to float from the grass upwards to the sky. I am often outside when it happens and never fail to be struck speechless watching it. They're like bubbles lifting from the bottom of a glass.

Since I'm a gardener, I find them earth-bound everywhere on foliage in the day time, and have noticed some extremely miniature adult-looking specimens. I know they go through instars before they pupate to adult form so don't understand the size discrepancy between the tiny fireflies and those more traditionally sized. Perhaps a different species? I am not aware they moult in their adult form. Guess I need to do some reading.

I enjoy the song of the cicada as much as the light show of the firefly. Absolutely no other sound (other than crickets) speak summer so strongly to me.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 12:19PM
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It has been an exceptional year for the fireflies. Christy came in the other night just after dusk and remarked how many there were and why didn't she see them more often. I explained about when they come out and she vowed to pay better attention. Smiles. I see a few in the house at times. Boon of an old drafty house? The sound of the little peeper frogs is a real summer sound around here too along with those other two suspects Suzy mentioned.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 10:13PM
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Cicadas are a spring noise here. They were on their last singing when we left for Saint Louis the first week of June. In Kentucky, they'd completely quit. In Illinois, going strong. so the farther north you go, the later they come out, I assume.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Like Lilo I miss many of the things I grew up with. We do have frogs in places.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 12:20PM
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We have more fireflies this year than in the last few, but I have not heard one cricket yet and only two cicadas. Cicadas I understand, it is not a major year for them, but normally we have crickets aplenty by the middle of June.
I miss the big meadow which used to be across from our little sidestreet and the many fireflies there.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 3:58PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

We have lots of fireflies this year and almost no japanese beetles. Yeah!!!!! I think the most I have picked off the raspberries in one night has been 6, instead of 60. I read somewhere that firefly larva eat japanese beetle eggs or larva, and I think it must be true.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 2:05PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Where I grew up the fire flies were smaller....and different than the ones in the mid-west. We called them lightening bugs.
cicadas always mean summer's almost over and are a sort of sad sound to me....katy-dids are the mid summer sound. And we have something else here....don't know what it is, we call it a "telephone bug"...sounds just like the phone ringing in the other room, so much so that the dog would wuff to tell us to answer it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 3:18PM
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I know the 'telephone' sound.....we call them fax frogs. Check out the advertisement call of the American toad and also the grey tree frog and see if it's the same one you're hearing. Have you ever heard a snowy cricket.....and I do not know how something that small packs such a wallop. One of them got into my kitchen and started singing in the middle of the night. The old schnauzer flew out of his bed, well he nearly levitated and he was almost deaf and would not be settled until I caught the cricket and put him outside. It was nearly as loud floating in through the open kitchen window. I'd never seen one until that night, but googled it because man.......was I impressed. They're also called thermometer crickets, because you can count how many times they trill in a given number of seconds and add a constant and it'll give you your temperature.

I also had a mockingbird who could imitate the sound of my house phone. One day I flew in and out of the house at least a dozen times to catch it before the answering machine picked up only to find out the phone wasn't rining. Looked up and saw it sitting on an electric line and I swear it was laughing at me.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 4:51PM
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mrobbins(6b - Brooklyn)

I've really enjoyed reading all of these firefly stories!

This summer we've had fireflies hovering around the tree pits on our Brooklyn street, which is pretty unusual. Normally you only see them in this busy, crowded city in the big parks, and there are precious few.

I learned from reading Donald Culross Peattie's Almanac for Moderns that the protein chitin is what the hard shell parts of insects are made of, and it's the friction of this kind of surface that causes the terrific noise. The only part of the human body composed of chitin is our fingernails. Try this: holding your two thumbs close to your ear, gently but quickly rub the fingernails together. Your very own evening insect sound that you can listen to anytime.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 4:52PM
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