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Fireflies spotted early in East Tennessee

11:49 AM, Jun 7, 2013   |    comments
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An unusually warm winter has put wildlife in East Tennessee weeks ahead of schedule. In some places, fireflies have already started buzzing.

Crystal Cook lives in West Knox County, and started seeing the bugs in her front yard a few days ago.

"I saw one flickering in the tree right here," she said while pointing to a tree in her front yard.

"And the next night I saw it again. Some nights it would be two or three and they stay right in about the same place," she said.

"I've never seen fireflies this early in the year!"

Bob Miller is the Public Affairs Officer for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He said fireflies don't usually make an appearance until the middle of April.

"Fireflies live most of their life in the soil," he explained. "So when the soil warms up that speeds up their metabolism and brings them out. So they're coming out early."

Each June, huge crowds visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park to watch the synchronized fireflies out on a show at Elkmont.

The actual flashing cycle lasts about three weeks, and park officials run shuttles to see the show in early June.

"Our concern is it's too far out phase we may miss them altogether," said Miller. "But it's too early to know whether we'll catch them during the shuttles or not."


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