Chasing after the blinking fireflies on a summer evening is a favorite childhood memory for many.
The flying, twinkling lights of fireflies are a mystical summer attraction. While lightning bugs are common in nature, there’s a few things you might not know about them.
Fireflies are also Known as Lightning Bugs
Fireflies, also called lightning bugs or glow worms, are winged beetles known for their bioluminescence in the twilight hours. Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction that allows fireflies to produce a cold light that emits little to no heat.
Fireflies light-up to communicate with potential mates as well as predators. When attracting a mate, it all comes down to the twinkle. Every species of firefly has its own distinct pattern of flashing their light-producing bottoms. Males and females of the same species will flash this pattern to notify each other of their presence.
Fireflies also glow to warn predators to stay away. Most species of fireflies are filled with a nasty tasting chemical. Predators who have had a mouthful of this chemical quickly learn to associate the firefly’s glow with a very bad taste.
Have you Noticed Fewer Fireflies? Unfortunately, we may be chasing after fewer and fewer of these magical insects each summer. Populations are dwindling throughout our country and the world.
Most scientists and researchers believe that development and light pollution are driving them away. Most species of fireflies are born and thrive in the rotting wood and understory of forests near lakes and ponds. As they grow, they tend to stay near where they are born. As more forests and open fields are developed, their habitat becomes threatened.
Light pollution—the excessive use of artificial light—may also be driving firefly populations down. Fireflies use their bioluminescence to attract mates. If too much light surrounds their habitat, there is a chance that males and females won’t find each other to mate. Less mating means fewer fireflies, which means fewer chances for us to enjoy chasing fireflies on a warm, summer evening.
At Beechwood Inn we keep are garden areas fairly dark. We also do not spray with pesticides. So come to beechwood Inn and sit at our firepit and enjoy our fireflies.
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