Fireflies and Cicadas

Eastern firefly glowing (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

1 July 2024

By all accounts this has been an extraordinary firefly season in Pittsburgh. Since we don’t have a backyard my husband and I went to Schenley Park last night to see them. Beautiful and peaceful.

This video by Radim Schreiber, gives you a taste of what it’s like to watch eastern fireflies (Photinus pyralis).

embedded video by Radim Schreiber on YouTube

Firefly season will end in mid-July as scissor grinder cicadas (Neotibicen pruinosus) take over.

Scissor-grinder cicada, Schenley Park, July 2020 (photo by Kate St. John)

Cicadas live most of their lives as nymphs in the soil under trees. When they’re ready to become adults they crawl out of the soil, climb up a tree, hang on and emerge from their exoskeletons.

embedded video by Peter Chen 2.0 on YouTube

And then, mostly at dusk, they begin to “sing” a repetitive WEEE ah, WEEE ah, WEEE ah, WEEE ah that tapers at end. Click here to hear Scissor grinder cicada at

Though I haven’t heard cicadas here yet, Mike Fialkovich says they’ve been in his Penn Hills neighborhood for more than a week.

2 thoughts on “Fireflies and Cicadas

  1. Too soon to hear them for me. Always reminds me that it’s time to go back to school. Please, not yet! Also, thanks for the firefly video. One of the best things about Summer is seeing them emerge to light up the night.

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