Here’s Herbdoc, with another “enlightening” post.
It was a pleasant surprise when a dozen or so lightning bugs (aka fireflies) appeared in my darkened backyard a few weeks ago. These little beetles bring back happy memories of childhood when my brother and I would venture into the summer night to catch several in a Mason jar. Then we’d climb to the attic where the beetles would put on their light show for an hour or two before release.
For years now there seemed to be a decline in these and other beneficial insects. In my opinion the rampant use of household insecticides on lawns and gardens has drastically reduced their numbers so I see it as good news that they are trying to return if only in my neighborhood.
Lightning bugs, members of the family Lampyridae, love moisture and high humidity. Their blinking, intermittent signals are a kind of Morse code to find potential mates. My visitors have varying patterns from one to four flashes. After mating, females deposit their eggs in the ground where the larvae develop to adulthood. The larvae are ravenous and eat slugs and worms. They have been observed following snail trails to their next meal!
Adults are thought to feed on nectar.
Welcome back, little lightning bugs! I truly enjoy your nighttime displays.