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Home » Lightning Bugs in the Summer

Lightning Bugs in the Summer



There are few things quite as magical as feeling the warmth of a summer night and seeing lightning bugs dance across the night sky. Lightning bugs are a summer staple in the South, characterizing childhood and life’s simpler joys. The lifecycle of a lightning bug revolves around the summer solstice and warm, humid weather, so it is no coincidence that many backyards in North Carolina become littered with these bugs come late May and early June. During the winter, lightning bug larvae live underground to stay warm and mature in the spring. When the weather starts to warm up in early summer, these lightning bugs emerge and light up the sky. Because lightning bugs are cold-blooded, like most insects, their activity level rises with warmer temperatures. 

Why do lightning bugs light up?

The flashes of a lightning bug are nature’s dance that we can all witness and enjoy. Many people may not know that lightning bugs flash as a way to signal for a mate. Using a specific flashing pattern, a lightning bug will flash until another lightning bug responds. When you look into a backyard on a summer night, the flashes you are seeing are typically that of a male lightning bug, looking for its female mate. Once a female decides that she wants to mate, she flashes back with her own flashing pattern, and the twinkling conversation begins. The flashing will continue between the two lightning bugs until the male finally finds the female, and they mate. 

Are lightning bugs considered a pest?

Lightning bugs are technically considered pests, but they are noninvasive in their nature. They thrive outdoors and typically do not want to enter an indoor environment. Lightning bugs love warm and humid weather, so staying outside best suits their needs and life stages. They do, however, feed on smaller insects so they are beneficial in keeping other pests away. Lightning bugs are a member of the beetle family, characterized by a hardshell case that holds their wings in preparation for flight.

 Where do lightning bugs go during the winter?

The average lifespan for a lightning bug is one year from egg to adult. Of that year, only two or three months are spent flying and being active in nature. During the winter, a lightning bug is underground growing and maturing, and then once it emerges in the spring it starts looking for a mate. While the life cycle of a lightning bug is short, the flashes of these little bugs are what is engrained in people’s minds and are reminiscent of summer nights. 

What month do lightning bugs come out?


Being cold-blooded insects, lightning bugs thrive during warmer temperatures and their activity level increases the warmer it becomes. These glowing bugs will start emerging from underground when the early summer starts; you can expect to see an influx of lightning bugs between late May to mid-June. Lightning bugs will continue to illuminate the backyard until cooler temperatures start to set in, and the life cycle of a lightning bug comes to an end. In the spring, the next population will come out to glow and start the process again

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276-B Haywood Rd.
Asheville, NC 28806
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Clinton, NC 28328
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Durham, NC 27705
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