Fireflies or Lightning bugs?

Mon. Jul. 2, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Fireflies or Lightning bugs?

Depending on what part of the country you come from, they’re either fireflies or lightning bugs. In the upper midwest, we kinda like both names!  The western half prefers firefly while the southeaster mid section prefers lightning bugs. Whatever you call ‘em, I’m thrilled to see so many!

When I was little, a long time ago and in a land south of Minnesota, it seemed like the evening backyard was alive with the magical glow of the Lightening Bug. We would chase them down and capture them in jars. My dad would poke holes in the metal tops so they’d have air. And we used them like a lantern.

Check out the wonderful photos on Firefly Experience.

And then, the fireflies would die…  But, still, there would be more… then it seemed there weren’t. Is it because I moved? Did I just get older and not pay attention to their little glowing bellies? Or is it more sinister, like too many pesticides. Maybe the fairies took them back to the forests?

According to scientific research, that one’s probably not the answer, on the other hand, THEY don’t really know. Fireflies flash to find a partner.   The males will signal they’re available and the females then decide if they want to respond with their own flash. There are many species, how many live in the Upper Midwest, is still a slight mystery. However, they do have their own code.

Fireflies flash in different sequences and also have different colors. They’re neither a fly or a bug, they’re a beetle. They’re bioluminescence starts right away. They glow from egg to larvae to adult. And they eat slugs. I knew I liked them!

Firefly larvae

Check in with Firefly Watch and report your sightings!  So far this year (2018)  Wisconsin has reported seeing more this year than Minnesota.   And also Gardening For Life – Fireflies