OHIO, USA — Keep your eyes out after sunset! Lightning bugs are emerging across Ohio as warmer and more humid air pushes north into the Great Lakes.
WHEN IS LIGHTNING BUG SEASON?
It's all due to weather... During the fall, winter and spring, lightning bug larva are maturing in trees and vegetation. Once temperatures warm up consistently and muggy air returns, they emerge as adults and begin their mating season. The males glow around sunset as they try to attract females. Each species has a specific light pattern that the females recognize.
We notice lightning bugs only during their mating season, but it doesn't last long. According to Iowa State University, the bugs only survive two to four weeks as adults. Before dying, they lay their eggs and start the cycle for next year.
WHERE TO FIND LIGHTNING BUGS?
Every continent on Earth has them, except Antarctica. There are more than 2,000 species, but most prefer warm and humid climates -- at least during their summer season. Thus temperature and tropical locations harbor the majority of fireflies.
LIGHTNING BUG OR FIREFLY?
They're the same thing but it depends on where you live. The Ohio River Valley and Southeast generally say "lightning bug." The West and far North say "firefly."
ARE FIREFLIES DISAPPEARING?
Many people say that they don't see as many fireflies as they used to. They recount stories of the evening meadows with thousands of blinking lights. Many researchers agree. According to the Firefly Conservation and Research, firefly populations continue to decrease. While it's not completely understood why, light pollution and habitat destruction may be making them harder to find.
Lightning bugs prefer quiet, warm, humid, dark places like meadows and forests, with a calm water source nearby.
If you want to help increase your chances for fireflies, experts say there are things that can help.
- Compost your grass-clippings and leaves
- Avoid pesticides on your property
- Turn off exterior lights
- Build/expand your garden
- Matt Standridge, WKYC Meteorologist
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