The Firefly—Everyone's Favorite Childhood Insect—is Disappearing

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The firefly may disappear. Here's what you can do to help.

Summer has never been my favorite season. But as a kid, I still thought it had some beautiful bits of mystery. One of the beautiful, magical aspects I still find joy in is the firefly.

But over the past few years, I noticed a sharp decline of the amount of glowing, little orbs dancing through the dusk sky. I wondered if maybe I just wasn’t noticing the insects as much because I’m an adult. I'm still taken by all the weird bug beauty that lies right beneath my feet while I'm gardening; so, my love for nature's magic hasn't died.

The reality is there really are far fewer fireflies floating through the air than when I was a child. Almost 2,000 species of fireflies have been decreasing in population since 2014.

The culprit? You guessed it—human behavior. The specific types of human behavior that have caused the decline of fireflies include pesticides, artificial lighting, the destruction of firefly habitats, and human-caused climate change.

“Fireflies — or lightning bugs — thrive in meadows, woods, and along bodies of water, all of which are shrinking because of our sprawl,” Fireflies are disappearing. Here’s why — and what you can do to help" target="_blank">Grist reports.

“Urbanization, it seems, is killing the firefly.”

In addition to urbanization, fireflies also are negatively affected by “invasive species that thrive in a warmer climate and drought destroy even more of their habitat,” Grist adds.

And the loss of fireflies isn’t just bad for all of us who love to look at them—their decline also proves that climate change is affecting us now.

So, what can people do to help fireflies survive all the horrible stuff we’ve thrown at them? Treehugger has a few suggestions:

  • Avoid using chemicals
  • Leave worms, snails, and slugs for firefly larvae to eat
  • Turn off lights
  • Provide ground cover, such as grasses and shrubs, for fireflies to hide in

So, remember: Even though the decline of fireflies may seem like NBD, it is.

"The habitats of fireflies also play home to many forms of wildlife including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and numerous species of invertebrates and flora," Treehugger reports.

"The more marvels we lose in nature, the less we feel emotionally invested in protecting it. We need the fireflies to continue on their mission as ambassadors for nature's magic!"

We totally agree.

Related on Organic Authority
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The Pollinators: 7 Important Insects and Animals for our Food Supply

Image of fireflies via Shutterstock

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