Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Night Magic

There is magic in warm summer nights. 
The sunsets as the song birds sing the last notes of the day. The moon begins to
 illuminate the sky, signaling the creatures of the evening to awake. 

Green flashes of glowing light begin to rise from the ground and take flight 
in an amazing display that is nothing short of magic.

It is fireflies that are responsible for the enchanting light display that illuminates the night.
Being a west coast native these creatures are something I have never known until moving 
to the east coast. The hot humid summer weather here in the deciduous forests of the 
mid-atlantic region provides a perfect environment for fireflies to thrive. 

Unfortunately fireflies are disappearing all over the world due to light pollution
 and destruction of habitat. 

These creatures speak in a language of light. Light pollution hinders the fireflies 
ability to see the light flash patterns produced by both males and female of the species. 
Excess light from homes, storefronts, streetlights, and even bright car headlights make it
 almost imposable for fireflies to signal to each other - an integral part of their mating ritual. 
This equates to fewer firefly born for the next season.

Once dark uninterrupted fields and woodlands have been replaced by homes 
with landscaped lawns and bright exterior lighting. 
Landscaped lawns often do not include native plants and 
many relay on the use of pesticides. Both are factors that harm fireflies. 

What can we do?

Keep in mind firefly larva live in rotting logs and leaf litter. 
Removal destroys the environment necessary for these creatures to live. 

Mowing and pesticides kill fireflies. Leave your lawn to nature. 
Plant native vegetation around your home and avoid excess mowing of open 
grassy areas. DO NOT use chemical pesticides or fertilizers in your yard.

Reach out to your neighbors and community.
If you live in an area with many houses talk to those around you about 
limiting the use of outdoor lighting. Ask those in the community to avoid over
 mowing and pesticide use.

Want to do more? 

Check out the links below. 
Help to keep these fascinating creatures lighting up the nights with their magic glow 
for future generations to come.