Procedure for Surveys

Participants in the Vanishing Firefly Project will follow a counting procedure, enter their observations for firefly counts and then complete the educational survey.

1.  Firefly Counting Procedure

Our Counting Kick-off is on MAY 31st, 2015 between 8:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Standard Time.

If you are using the Firefly Flash Counter App with your iPhone or Android, you will open the App to begin your counts. If you are entering the information through this website, you will record your counts and submit them into the online form by August 31st, 2015.

  • Turn out all lights and wait a few minutes before counting (i.e. houselights, flashlights, headlights, etc.)

  • Make a circle with your hand, and hold the circle up to your eye like this.

        Firefly Counting Instrument

  • You will count for a total of 60 seconds. Every 15 seconds you need to change your field of view. To change your field of view, simply turn your body 60 degrees so you are viewing a different section of yard or wherever you are counting. You will have a total of 4 views. 

       Firefly Counting Step 1

  • Count only the fireflies inside your circle, not outside

      Firefly Counting Step 2

  • Note their flashing pattern. Do not simply count the number of flashes, a single firefly can make several flashes within a few seconds in your field of vision.

    • Flashing patterns can include: a j-shaped flash; a single flash every 3-8 seconds; a double flash every 5 seconds; three or more flashes within 2-3 seconds.

  • You may conduct several counts in the same night, but we ask that the counts be conducted at different locations and that separate surveys are submitted for each count.

  • View an animated PowerPoint Presentation depicting a 'counting' session - DOWNLOAD PPT, 705KB OR DOWNLOAD the Firefly Field Guide

2.  Entering Firefly Observations - link to form

If you did not use the Firefly Flash Counter iPhone App to enter your observations, please enter them into the online FIREFLY OBSERVATIONS form at this link.

Please enter your observation by August 31st, 2015. Be prepared to submit the following information:

  • Street Name, City, Country
  • Where did you see the fireflies? (in your backyard, farmland, meadow, forest, etc)
  • How many fireflies did you count within one minute? 
  • What types of flashing patterns did you see?
  • It is important to report your results even if no fireflies are observed.


3.  Complete the Educational Survey -

In addition to reporting the firefly counts, we are asking participants to fill out an online EDUCATIONAL survey at this link after they enter their observations. Participants who fill out the educational survey will receive an email notification when the firefly count results are posted.