Firefly, lightning bug, glow bug or “peenie wallie” — that’s right, peenie wallie — whatever you call the insect that seems to magically light up dark nights, Central Texans agree: There are a lot of them this year. After enough people got to talking about the abundance of the friendly little flies, KUT decided to find an entomologist and answer the burning (glowing) question of, “Why?”
According to Wizzie Brown with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the number of fireflies has a lot to do with rain. Fireflies need a wet spring to lay eggs, which in turn need moisture while they grow underground for nearly a year.
“When we were in the drought cycle you hardly ever saw any fireflies at all,” Brown said.
Essentially, they’re the plants of the insect world.
While Central Texas might be seeing a burst in its firefly population, the rest of the country isn’t necessarily experiencing the same thing. Factors like drought, land development and light pollution, which fireflies can find confusing, could be having a negative impact on the species’ numbers.
Chances are this season you won’t have to do much to spot these little light bulbs, but if you’re looking to make your yard even more firefly-friendly, try keeping your outdoor lights off and cutting your grass less often. You’ll get the warmest thank you.