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What Our Firefly & Mosquito Booms Have In Common

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The glow of a firefly is much more appreciated than the sound of a mosquito buzzing around your head.

But Dr. Susan Weller, director of the Bell Museum, says the reason we’re seeing more of each bug this summer could be one in the same.

“Our very cold spring slowed down the development of our early summer fireflies, so they’re emerging now,” Weller said.

It also could just be a natural boom year for the luminous bugs. But if the weather is to blame, that would mean we’re seeing multiple species of the insects at once.

“You could actually test this hypothesis by going out tonight or any good night and looking to see if there are more than one or two flash-pattern types,” she said.

Fireflies love standing water, and with all our lakes there’s about fifteen different species – and flash patterns – in Minnesota.

“Some will flash bop-bop-bop, and there are others that will go bop, bopbop, bop, bopbop,” she said.

And while it makes for a great light show, the purpose of the flashes is a little more fundamental.

“When the female sees the one that’s the right pattern, she then gives a very coy response, and he’s watching for it. And then he comes down right to where she’s sitting in the shrubs, and um, they mate,” Weller said.

If you want to see more fireflies in your yard, the experts say you need to be careful about what types of insecticides you use.

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