Why Aren’t There Fireflies in Idaho?
When we got married last summer, this was a question that more than a few of my guests visiting from Ohio asked. I've lived in Idaho so long, that I almost forgot these were everywhere when I was a kid.
When we were younger, my sister and I would spend hours in our backyard chasing around fireflies (or lighting bugs, whatever you want to call them) with butterfly nets. My dad would put holes in the top of an empty Kool-Aid container so that we could make our own firefly lanterns. Kids in the Treasure Valley don't get to create those memories because there aren't any fireflies here!
But why?! I must know why! According to Firefly.org, our climate has a lot to do with it. Fireflies thrive in humid, warm environments. It might get hot in the Treasure Valley (we're looking at our first triple digit day of the year on Thursday) but the most humid time of the day here is around 5 a.m. and is still significantly lower than evening humidity levels where fireflies like to live. Geographically, there are almost no fireflies found west of Kansas.
Does that mean there's no bio-luminescent bugs in Idaho? Not necessarily. Don Salvatore, a Firefly Watch coordinator, explained on a message board that the fireflies that live out west aren't the pretty flashing kind. Some are daytime ones who don't have the ability to light up at all. You may also stumble across glow worms in our part of the country, but its the female ones who glow and they can't fly so it's not quite the same experience.
Head just south of the Idaho-Utah border and you may have a little luck! The Boston based Museum of Science has been tracking firefly sightings for almost 10 years and the most recent firefly sighting anywhere remotely near us was southeast of Provo on June 12. According to the map legend, more than 25 fireflies were seen that day which is quite a few for our region of the country!