Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

Pest ID: Firefly

Fireflies are well known in the areas they are found, for one simple reason: they light up in the nighttime, creating a flickering appearance. Big groups of these creatures can be a truly beautiful sight.

Did you known that a firefly is actually a type of winged beetle? They are sometimes referred to as lightning bugs. The light produced by fireflies is called bioluminescence, which means it is caused by chemicals within the insects' bodies that react to make them glow. Different kinds of fireflies produce different colors, with some being pale red while others are yellow or green. Learn more about various types of fireflies and how to identify them.


What Do They Look Like?


A firefly is brown and soft-bodied. They hibernate over the winter. They generally taste nasty to birds and other predators, but they are not poisonous. While they are easy to find at night, fireflies can be more difficult to spot during the day as most are nocturnal. Some species are actually active in the daytime, but these varieties mostly do not produce light. The larvae are called glowworms. While not all adult fireflies glow, all glowworms do.


Where Do They Nest?


Fireflies do not typically nest together, as they lay their eggs on the ground or just below the surface. The larvae, glowworms, hatch within three to four weeks after being laid. They wriggle through the ground, eating other small insect larvae and also certain snails and slugs. Some kinds of glowworms will burrow deeper underground, while others will look for hiding places underneath tree bark. They can take several weeks or even several months to emerge as adults.


Are They Harmful?


Fireflies are completely harmless and will not cause any damage to your home. In fact, they can actually be beneficial to your garden. The adults feed on small insects and may fly around catching actual pests, depending on what species of firefly you have. Even the carnivorous species only seek smaller prey, so if you or your children catch them, there is no danger of getting bitten. The larvae, too, are beneficial to your garden consuming snails, worms and other invertebrates, so a population of fireflies and glowworms may actually protect your yard and garden space from other potentially harmful pests.

Now that you know how to tell the difference between fireflies and other kinds of bugs, you can make sure when you find them to leave them alone. Fireflies add beauty to an area and help fight off other bugs that you don’t want to have around.