LIGHTENING BUGS are on the OUT!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: July 11, 2024

Lightening or glow bugs have always amazed kids. Chasing these glowing bugs is fun. I remember filling a jar with them, so I had a camp light. Sadly, many captured bugs did not survive the night. Once there were so many that the population of glowing fireflies seemed endless. 

These glowing bugs create a natural bioluminescence. Their chambered abdomen contains calcium, luciferin, and adenosine triphosphate. When the bug breathes, Oxygen is introduced, and a chemical reaction causes the glow. This natural light is nearly 100% efficient. To compare an incandescent lightbulb is 95% inefficient. 10 % is light and 90 % is lost as heat. 

Today’s world is changing the future of lightening bugs. Not everyone appreciates these bugs or any insects or bugs. Bug Zappers do not react differently to good or bad bugs. All bugs and insects get zapped.

There is a difference between bugs and insects. Insects have three pairs/six legs as an adult. Bugs can have many more. Bug haters also hate insects no atter how many legs are involved. Over 2,000 species of fireflies can be found around the world. There are 170 species in the US. Western species do not glow as adults, but just as larval stages. 

Let us put some light on this interesting critter.

Lightening Bugs are not bugs. Thet are a type of flying beetle related to lady bugs. 

Their light is used to attract mates. Different patterns and speed of glows excite and attract males for reproduction.

Some species live in the water

Not all male bugs get to mate. Some females simply eat them.

They have a short life. Though the entire life cycle is a yearlong, most can only fly and mate for 2 months.

Fireflies eat slugs, snails, or each other. Some lightening bugs never eat as an adult. 

Glow bugs taste bad to other predators.

Fireflies are currently declining in population due to several reasons. Broad Spectrum pesticides kill these good bugs and all bugs. Light pollution keeps our nights brighter. Fireflies cannot find each other easily. More mowed lawns and fields and development decrease habitat. Bug zappers take their toll. Water sources are important.

To increase lightening bugs around your home.

Mow less often. Keep tall grass areas around the perimeter of your yard or in natural islands.

Water features supply moisture

Turn your lights off at night.

Plant native trees and grasses. Create canopies where fireflies can thrive.

Avoid using broad spectrum pesticides.

Only use the bug zappers when you are outside.

Let the Fireflies light the night!

Montana Grant

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