(WKBN) – Summer has ended, and the cooler temperatures have returned to Ohio and Pennsylvania. As we roll into the fall season, you don’t see lightning bugs in your backyard during the evening.

Have you ever wondered where these flying glowsticks go?

What is the real name of a lightning bug or firefly?

A firefly and a lightning bug are the same. They may be called different names around the country and world, depending on the area you live in.

These beetles are well known around the world. There are thousands of different species with some small differences between each. The United States also has hundreds of these species to light up the sky during a summer evening.

The beetles belong to a family with the scientific name Lampyridae.

Lightning bug
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What is the life cycle of a lighting bug or firefly?

These glowing wonders are fun to watch, and our period of time to catch them put on their light show is small each year. This small time in the year is most likely the highlight of their life cycle as they are truly adults and reaching the peak of their life.

The life cycle of the firefly/lightning bug is around one year, on average. Some may live longer, depending on the species.

They develop in a process known as complete metamorphosis. Complete metamorphosis is a process where there are four stages of life.

The complete metamorphosis process

  • The first stage is when the female lays her eggs.
  • The second stage is when the larvae hatch from those eggs. An example of this stage is a caterpillar before it is a butterfly. Maggots and grubs are the larvae of flies and beetles. A firefly/lightning bug is a beetle. The eggs of a firefly will incubate for around three weeks before they will hatch into larvae. They will live in the ground and eat slugs, snails, worms, as well as other insects.
  • The third stage is the pupa stage. This is when the larva develops a cocoon around itself. It can remain in this cocoon for months as it develops its body, organs, legs as well as wings.
  • The fourth and final stage is when the larvae break out of the cocoons and live the last stage of their lives. This stage may take some time as they grow and feed to strengthen their structure. It is after this stage that the firefly/lighting bug grows into an adult and reproduces, and the female lays eggs to start the next year’s process all over again.
fireflies lightning bugs
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The final days for the lightning bug or firefly

The adult firefly/lightning bug is living out the final days of its life as it glows and blinks different patterns to find its mate in order to reproduce next year’s crop of fireflies/lighting bugs. Again, there are many different species, and the length of time for their lives is a little different with each.

Most adult fireflies/lightning bugs will rest during the day and get active in the evening until around midnight.

The adults will be at the end of their lives after laying their eggs as the next generation starts the process over again.

Once it reaches its adult stage, the firefly only lives around two weeks. Again, this may vary a little with each species of firefly/lightning bug.

This is why our chance to see the glowing wonders is so short during the summer each year.