Lightning and June Bugs in March!

Sitting on the party deck in the pitch black darkness of the country star gazing, I looked over at the tree line that surrounded our house.

“I just saw a lightning bug!” I told Dale.

He didn’t respond, but I could tell by his silence that he didn’t believe me.

It is, afterall, only March.

A few minutes later, he announces, “I saw a shooting star! Oops, it was a lightning bug. I thought you were crazy there for a few minutes.”

I wrote about lightning bugs, also known as fireflies, on the blog at the end of June last year. A post by the National Park Service also has them appearing in the Smoky Mountains around June.

I did read and report last year that they were earlier than in years past, scientists believe is it partly due to global warming.

If mid-June is early, than mid-March is really unheard of!

These little critters also have a very short lifespan, so if they’re appearing now, they will all be long gone before May even hits.

Dale went on to lament, “Before you know it, we’ll be seeing June bugs in March.”

It only took two nights for that prediction to come true. The frogs are also croaking and crickets buzzing. So far, no locusts yet, which normally don’t buzz until late summer either.

The famed cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. bloomed early this year, throwing off those who plan tourism around the big festival.

Of course, the internet is all abuzz with what this means for nature, our planet as a whole and all of humanity (remember, some people believe this is earths last year as the Mayan calendar was said to have ended on December 21, 2012).

What do you think? A part of a regular cycle or is there really something funny happening with the earth this year? What animals, insects or plants have you seen come out especially early this season?

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35 Responses

  1. Merr says:

    I just heard a report on NPR about the ice melting in the Arctic and zoos trying to figure out how to keep the populations of polar bears from going extinct. Perhaps this year we are only seeing the changes becoming more drastic? It is quite incredible, I agree.

  2. Seeing lightning bugs in March is really strange. But, then, the entire winter here in NYC has been odd, with 60 F weather and no snow. Even in Colombia where I just visited, the weather has been odd – a rainy season that started way too early. What a mess.

  3. Tufts University has been charting lightning bugs decline for the past few years–kids can even sign up to collect and report data. I’ve been meaning to do that with my kiddos. There’s still so much the scientists don’t know about the lightning bugs

  4. Irene says:

    Our area has been warned of an influx of tiger mosquitoes! I dn’t look forward to that~

  5. Donna Hull says:

    The weather is definitely unusual. I think the changes that we are seeing are a combination of cyclical change and human stress on the environment.

  6. The climate is changing. We can all see it around us. I wonder why — in such a modern, presumably enlightened time — it’s become fashionable to doubt and mock science.

  7. Kerry Dexter says:

    unusual weather both places I’ve spent time — northern Europe and deep south US — this winter and spring, too. really cold spells and then long stretches of unusually warm weather cycling through, and as you’re seeing where you are, what seems to be a really early spring. earth’s natural cycles and global warming both involved, I think. agree with Kris’s comment that there are changes all of us need to make.

  8. Things have been crazy here in Buffalo, NY too. We had a week of 80 degrees and suddenly daffodils, crocuses, forsythia and tree buds were out, along with bees and all sorts of flying insects. It got cold again though, so everything is kind of holding, although the flowers freaked out and wilted.

  9. Denise says:

    Was shocked to look out my window and see a lightening bug myself! I yelled for my husband to confirm that I wasn’t seeing things because after all it is March! I am in Kentucky and I do believe they do not tend to come out until late may or june….from what I remember. What does this mean?

    • Kerri says:

      I don’t know, Denise. One thing I’m pretty sure it means is that they will not be around for us to enjoy in the summer.

  10. Mat says:

    Well, we don’t have lightning bugs, but man, we’ve got mosquitoes! None of us have gotten bitten yet, but I keep seeing them everywhere. I got 3 with a swipe of my windshield wipers the other day.

    I think we’re halfway through a weird year. Last summer wasn’t all that brutal either. Don’t get me wrong, there were some 100* days, however not as many as we’ve come to expect. We got some early snowfall (the only real snowfall) this year (days before Halloween), so it makes sense that an early spring follows.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Mat! We’ve come to expect to see mosquitoes, flies and ticks year around here, so that much isn’t new for our neck of the woods. Moths have also been abundant, banging against the glass everynight, wanting to get into the light. I think you’re right about the year, we’ve had many of these mild winters though, and I think it is becoming move evident there is a critical change happening to our planet.

      • Mat says:

        Oh sure, things are changing. No question about that.
        I do question the role that humans are playing, though. I think it’s presumptuous of us as a species to take the credit…or…blame for the change, though. I mean…let’s face it–weather as we know it has been faithfully recorded for only the last 150 years. A blip–not even a blip, really–in human history, let alone in the temperature cycles of Earth. When it comes down to it, we have VERY little clue as to what “normal” is. Scientists seem to agree, however, that the last 10,000 years seems to have been pretty stable, which is unusual. But that’s based on spotty data and is a best guess.
        I’d buy that we’ve accelerated the changes, but they were going to come regardless of human interference.

        • Liz says:

          Yeah, its a difficult question because recorded history takes up such a small part of our earths history. I usually default to saying regardless of whether the earth is cycling naturally or not, our actions as a species has a recordable known damaging effect on our environment and we really should be taking more steps to minimize our impact. Better for the environment, and better for us.

  11. Sheryl says:

    I don’t know why we have such an early Spring this year,but I’ll take it! I love seeing everything in bloom.

  12. Alexandra says:

    Amazing that you saw fireflies! The ticks are out early. The daffodils are up, several weeks ahead of schedule for Cape Cod. It is baffling, to have not had a winter. It’s hard not to attribute this to global warming.

    • Kerri says:

      I agree, Alexandra. Most of the country did not have a winter at all, much different from the previous one. Ugh, ticks, we have them year around here.

  13. Olivia says:

    Well we, as usual, are having another winter storm!

    Just last week we had 3 days of record setting highs which pretty well got rid of most of the snow. We were sitting on decks in shorts and tees. Today we have 12 cm. of new snow, frigid temps (minus 15C with windchill) and 80 km/hr. winds and the forecast for the next week doesn’t look much better.

    **sigh**

    • Kerri says:

      Everytime you post about your weather, Olivia, it makes me even more grateful that we do not live further north. 🙂

  14. Heather L. says:

    It’s too cold here to go outside and look at nature. That in itself is an anomaly. It’s March and we should be over our freezing temperatures. Also, our frogs croak year round. It’s quite a symphony.

    • Kerri says:

      You’re in the Pacific NW, right, Heather? It’s been cold up there while I’ve seen the rest of the country baking. Strange weather indeed.

  15. I’m not a scientist – far from it – but I truly believe that humans are impacting earth’s natural cycle. Sure, it cycles without us, but not at the alarming rate it’s happening now. If you’ve not read ‘Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet’ I can’t recommend it enough. We NEED to make changes, every single one of us, in how we’re living on this planet – or it will look like an entirely different place in just ten years according to the author. (http://amazon.com/o/ASIN/0805090568/ref=nosim/hsj-20)

  16. Vicki says:

    Yesterday evening about 6:30 pm, I spotted a very small Garter snake about 6 inches long running along the patio blocks. I caught it and took it to my neighbor’s wood pile to give it some protection. I have never, never seen snakes in March, even rattlers.
    I am not real sure what this year will bring. I’m totally guessing about gardening, and other outdoor adventures this year.

    • Kerri says:

      We’ve also seen 3 snakes already, Vicki. I forgot to include them in my post. We typically do not see snakes either until later.