Do You Know the Real Reason You Never See Fireflies in Idaho or Utah?
If you’ve recently vacationed on the East Coast, you likely got to experience something absolutely beautiful we don’t get to see out west.
We just returned from a trip to northeast Ohio, where we got to enjoy several firefly-lit evenings in the local park. Watching the look on kids’ faces as they chased them around to put in a jar was heartwarming. You could tell how proud they were of their little lanterns before mom and dad eventually let the fireflies go. It’s a special memory that kids in Idaho don’t have the opportunity to make…but it may make you wonder WHY there aren’t any fireflies in Idaho.
It’s pretty simple. Idaho’s climate isn’t a happy home for fireflies. According to Firefly.org, they love warm, humid climates. We definitely have the first one going for us! Summer in Idaho can be downright scorching, but you know what they say “It’s a dry heat.” For the most part, humidity in Idaho is low. When we do experience it, it tends to be in the mornings when fireflies aren’t active.
If you look at the 2022 Firefly Observation Map, there really aren’t many sightings west of San Antonio, Texas. There were just a handful of sightings in the western mountain states.
Smithsonian Magazine explains that we do get some "fireflies" in the west but they're different than the species back east. In our neck of the woods, the female fireflies are the ones that light up and they don't do it while in flight. You've got to have a really keen eye to see their dull, dull glow while they're on the ground.
That said, seeing fireflies in the Idaho-Utah area isn't totally out of the question! The Massachusetts Audubon Society runs a "Firefly Watch Community Science Project" every year that tracks firefly sightings all over the country. They only track nighttime, flashing fireflies. In June 2022, there was a sighting of 1-5 fireflies in Pocatello near the Portneuf River.
It's anyone's guess if they'll show up there again this summer. While the odds aren’t great, we know that there are sightings in that area every few years! How special would it be to see fireflies with the kids during a family vacation?