So now that we know it’s summer (as proven by the emergence of lovely lightening bugs), it seems like a good time to talk about them.
First of all, I should clarify my position on fireflies. They are bugs, and as such have far more than the appropriate number of legs. But they have LIGHTS! So as long as none of them land on me and use my arms as walking paths, we should be OK.
Here’s what you need to know about lightening bugs.
Fireflies’ lights can be yellow, green, or orange. They can’t actually change colors; different varieties of fireflies have different color lights. This isn’t really surprising because there over 2,000 kinds of fireflies.
Fireflies in the western US are energy conscious and don’t light up.
Which is unfortunate because lightening bugs are really pretty (read about that here) and their light is – wait for it – the most efficient light in the world. Nearly 100% of the energy in the chemical reaction that makes them light up is converted to light. (Incandescent bulbs only emit 10% of their energy as light; fluorescent bulbs emit 90% of their energy as light.)
Each species has their own flashing pattern designed specifically to attract females for a little nooky.
Lightening bug larvae are carnivorous. When they have a choice, they generally order snails from room service.
Fireflies are disappearing due to pharmaceutical harvesting, light pollution, and habitat destruction. If there is a field or area where fireflies live and it gets destroyed or paved, lightening bugs don’t migrate, they just disappear – poof! – forever.
Which is sad. Because how will we know it’s summer?