University of Florida

Fireflies

Linked forever with summer evenings in childhood memory, fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, are actually beetles, not flies.

The firefly is able to produce bioluminescence—its famous light—with chemicals in its body, luciferin and luciferase. They use this light to attract mates, and each species has a different pattern of flashes.

Fireflies come out at dusk or nightfall in woods or wetlands during the summer. Some scientists think fireflies can be deterred by brightly lit urban areas, and that their populations may be decreasing because of mosquito spraying.

To provide habitat for fireflies in your landscape, reduce or eliminate artificial lighting and keep pesticides to a minimum.

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