Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime?... Catch Fireflies!

My kids are the luckiest kids in the world. And not just because of who their dad is.

I was 19 years old when I saw my first firefly. I was working as a youth camp counselor and we were doing an away session at Western Kentucky University. I was outside one evening and I saw a light flicker in the grass.

Honestly, you would think that I had found a diamond in the grass with my name on it.

I was so enchanted by these little bugs that carry their own light, and have never gotten over the new-ness of them when they return to my North Carolina home every June. Because fireflies share a very special category: Bugs that aren't Gross. Butterflies, ladybugs, and rolly-polly bugs share this category.

Tonight, my husband was outside mowing the lawn and my kids were on the swingset when the fireflies showed up with all their glowing wonderfulness. That was an hour ago. They are outside chasing them with a Mason jar still.

So, if you're a lucky soul who lives a state that is blessed with these pixie dust carrying creatures, have a mason jar handy and wait for evening to fall, and then capture some fireflies. Watch them. Be amazed. Then let them go.

Meanwhile, in case your kids are curious, here a few fun facts about fireflies:
  • They are called fireflies or lightning bugs. Their larvae babies are called gloworms.
  • The light they emit can either be yellow, green, or pale red. (I was in the woods here one time and saw fireflies of all different colors at the same time. Beautiful!)
  • Fireflies flash in complex patterns to help locate their mates. In some species, males fly, but females don't.
  • If you turn on your flashlight, fireflies turn off theirs. (And we've observed that they don't light up nearly as much once they're caught.)

I'd write more, but I need to go catch bugs with my kids...


  1. Oh I long for balmy nights chasing fireflies!! But not for long- we're going to Kentucky on Saturday and will be catching some as much as possible! BTW- since when are rollie pollie's not gross? Even Eli agree's they're gross- he spit it RIGHT out after popping it in his mouth *grin*

  2. I have another fun fact!

    If you're driving approximately 60 miles on an old, abandoned Tennessee highway and you hit a lightning bug, the 'splat' on your window glows!

    Fun. Right?

    ...only if you're not the bug.