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Old 06-16-2016, 09:36 PM   #1
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Birds and Bees, and Fireflies

Well friends, we are on the path to taking away yet another of this planet's magical cre atures. We all know about bee colony collapse. We all know that various species of birds are threatened with extinction because of herbicides, pesticides, and loss of habitat. But did you know that the humble firefly, aka lightning bug is threatened as well. And again the problems is pesticides, loss of habitat, and get this, light pollution. There is a particular pesticide at work, the same one that is thought to be a strong contributor to the bee colony collapse. It is a systemic pesticide, meaning that it is absorbed into the plant through the roots, and is in pollen, flowers, and leaves. Fireflies also need tall grass and bushy areas in which to hide during the day, and lay their eggs. Moist areas with puddles or ponds are required as well. Lastly, the firefly has many species, each a little different than the other. The flashing luminescence is a code that is unique to each species. And that code is what allows boy and girl fireflies to find each other and mate. Our security lights, our outdoor light posts, and of course street lights are much brighter than the little flashing tails of fireflies, and makes it hard for pairs to find each other.

What can we do? Where possible, we can leave a little brush and tall grass as habitat. It will benefit bees, fireflies, butterflies, etc. When we purchase plants that are supposed to attract those little insects we want, we have to purchase certified organic plants, so that we know the producer is not adding systemic insecticides to the plants before selling them. Lastly, again where possible, we need to turn of nighttime, outdoor lights.

If we all do our little part, maybe we can bring back the magic of our childhood days, with not only fireflies, but butterflies of all kinds, and wild bees, and native flowers and plants, which again attract mosquito eating birds, and all manner of life. And if we turn down the lights, and quit being afraid of the dark, maybe we can look into a clear, night sky, and see the Milky Way again, and maybe even the Aurora Borealis.

I would love to be able to take my grandkids outside and show them the wonders of the universe, and that includes the wonders that used to be found in our back yards.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North

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Old 06-16-2016, 10:03 PM   #2
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Birds and Bees, and Fireflies

Well said, Chief. As the sun set tonight, I took Beagle out for a walk around the perimeter. We were greeted by hundreds of fireflies, it was magical. We're also blessed with bunches of bees during the day. I've seen several swallowtail butterflies so far. Wild milkweed is coming up all over, so hopefully we'll get some Monarchs.

I don't use chemicals for much of anything, and to look at our yard, you can sure tell! Oh well, I don't mind the wild look.
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Old 06-17-2016, 06:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
Lastly, again where possible, we need to turn of nighttime, outdoor lights.
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Now that I'm old I feel sorry for those poor fireflies, peepers, cicadas, crickets, nightcrawlers, grasshoppers, pollywogs, salamanders, etc... that were such a big part of growing up in the country, I bet they were relieved when we grew up and moved to the city!

If you want to give the fireflies some privacy these little motion detectors can be a good compromise, you still have light and security when you need it and you may save a few pennies on the electric bill.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...sl_bljtilfak_b
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:28 PM   #4
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There is a place in Tenn. a National Park, that the Park Rangers will take you out to the woods at nighttime where at a certain time of the year, you can see fireflies by the thousands. Sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder if you can bring a jar so you can capture some?
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:49 PM   #5
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There is a place in Tenn. a National Park, that the Park Rangers will take you out to the woods at nighttime where at a certain time of the year, you can see fireflies by the thousands. Sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder if you can bring a jar so you can capture some?
You're not supposed to capture wildlife in parks, except where hunting and fishing are specifically permitted.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:55 PM   #6
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Out here in the sticks I have millions of them. In some areas of Mississippi they have fireflies that blink together at the same time. I don't know if I have them here...you have to wait until 9 or 10 at night to see them and I'm in the arms or Morpheus by then.

One thing I miss during the summer months when I have to have the AC on is sleeping with the windows open and listening to the huge racket that my frogs and toads and cicadas make. For the past couple of years I've had a Mockingbird that sings the most beautiful melodious song at 2 am.
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:00 PM   #7
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I've never seen a firefly. Well, I might have way back in the day when I was a young teen and visited relatives in the Midwest...but I don't really remember.

Liz....I'm not sure I'd appreciate a mockingbird's song at 2AM!
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:14 PM   #8
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Birds and Bees, and Fireflies

That's too bad, Cheryl. Our fireflies don't blink in sync like MS fireflies do, maybe I need to put out a metronome but they are really pretty. Sort of like random blinking Christmas tree lights.

The most beautiful bird song I've ever heard came from a Baltimore oriole. Thankfully not at 2 am. I saw and heard it, and immediately rushed in to cut up an orange and hammered some nails into a piece of board, stuck on the orange pieces, and hung it on a tree. I've had oriole feeders, but they've all leaked.
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:56 PM   #9
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For me the sounds of the night are comforting. I enjoy the racket of the natural world when I'm in bed. The Mockingbird singing in the dead of night was a great treat. They have been known to sing at night but it is very rare. I'd just wake up and listen for a while and fall back into the arms of Morpheus with Mr Mockingbird still singing his heart out.

Not all fireflies down here blink in sync but there have many reputable reports of them. It would be so cool to see them. They sat that they only blink in total darkness and stay two feel or less above the ground. How cool would it be to see a woods full of fire flies blinking on and off at the same time?
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:09 PM   #10
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I looked them up. And no, you are not allowed to catch them in a jar. But I still would love to see them.

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/fireflies.htm
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