Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Firefly Delight

Fireflies (also known as lightening bugs or glowworms) are beautiful insects to watch because of their luminescent glow. I was walking through Stony Run Trail in Roland Park last week and saw the most amazing collection of fireflies. There is a beautiful section along Linkwood Road that appears to attract large numbers of these amazing insects.

Watching them rise and fall from the ground with their stunning electric dance is mindblowing and at the same time soothing and relaxing. I actually sat on the ground and watched them perform for 30 minutes. I felt this strange calmness and peace I’ve never felt before. I’ve made additional trips to the field daily to see this wondrous, beautifully orchestrated, natural nature dance. I can’t get enough. It’s a positive treat for my mind, body and soul, and my eyes too.

This year, fireflies appear to have increased in their numbers, which has me seeing them more than I ever have before. I see them randomly throughout my neighborhood, and a few of them have made their way into my home. I’m careful to return them to the outdoors to nature’s playground. As I write this, I am noticing that there are fireflies dancing outside my living room window.

Make a trip to the Stony Run Trail to enjoy the fireflies. They are waiting for you. The best time to see them is at dusk. They appear more visible.

Firefly Facts

A firefly is not a fly. Rather, it is a beetle that belongs to Lampyridae family. They produce a cold light in their bodies, devoid of heat as well as any ultraviolet or infrared rays. The light that emerges from the body of a firefly has a wavelength ranging from 510 to 670 nanometers and is pale reddish, yellowish or green in color. Fireflies do not bite and are without pincers. A firefly spends most of its lifespan as a larva. In the
adult form, it survives for a very short span. Female fireflies lay their eggs in the soil and even the latter are reported to glow in the dark. After hatching, the larvae spend the summer eating tiny insects, larvae, and even slugs and snails. After a firefly larva reaches adult stage, it usually stops feeding and survives on the nutrients built during the larva stage. Even when it does eat, it is mainly nectar or dew, for moisture. The main aim of an adult firefly is to find a mate and lay eggs before dying. Both male and female fireflies glow. However, their rhythmic flashing patterns depend upon the sex and the species. Different species have a different communication system, based on the lighting patterns. Fireflies produce light for three reasons - attracting mates, warning predators and telling other fireflies of danger.

Catch A Firefly

Catching fireflies are a highlight for many children and will become a fond memory for many years to come. I know because it was for me. Create a special memory with your children, or get in touch with the child inside of you and catch a firefly.

To catch your firefly, get a jar and punch holes in the top using a small nail and hammer. This is so the fireflies have enough air and won't die a quick death, but make sure the holes aren't big enough for the fireflies to escape. You can also use plastic wrap with small holes punched in it, if you can't find a good lid. Put a few leaves into the bottom of the jar for cushioning. Find a good hunting spot from May through August. These lightning bugs are more prevalent in meadows, lawns at the edge of forests, or at streams. They are also more prevalent and may be easier to catch about one hour after the sun goes down. Catch them either with your hands or with the jar. Fireflies move fairly slowly, so they are very easy to catch, though you have to be careful not to crush them. Fireflies don't have teeth and are non-toxic, so you don't have to worry about getting hurt by touching one. Most importantly, release the lightning bugs (an hour or two after observing them) so they don't die within your jar. Doing so tells Mother Nature you care about her creatures.

Don’t forget to check out the Stony Run Trail for a memorable firefly experience. Enjoy! - paerki

(Select the following link to see my firefly video: Fireflies and Floppy)

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Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.


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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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