Can you imagine a summer night without fireflies? The flying, light-producing insects are well-known around the world. But have you ever wondered when, exactly, they start flying? When do fireflies come out? When are they most active, and how long do they stay out each night? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more!
What You'll Learn Today
When are Fireflies Active?
They are most active at different times depending on their species. There are around 2,000 species of firefly found throughout the world.
So, what is average for them? What time of day are you most likely to see them, and for how long?
What Time Do Fireflies Come Out?
Fireflies typically come out during the late evening or overnight hours. They use their bright flashes to attract mates, and these flashes are most visible at night when it is dark out.
Different species appear at different times of the night.
Some species make their appearance around dusk, while others wait until it is fully dark. Some are most active between 9 and 10pm, while still others are more likely to be visible after midnight.
This tendency to take to the skies at different times allows potential mates to identify members of their own species and differentiate them from other fireflies.
Different species also fly at different heights, produce longer or shorter flashes of light, and flash in different patterns. These characteristics are also important in helping other fireflies recognize members of their own species.
How Long Do Fireflies Stay Out at Night?
As you might imagine, this also varies from species to species.
Some fireflies will only fly and flash their lights for a few minutes each evening. Others will do so for hours on end.
Again, this is to help the different species tell each other apart.
Weather may play a role in determining how long fireflies stay out each evening. Summer nights are often punctuated by thunderstorms.
Though they like humid weather, they are less likely to be active during heavy rain or damaging winds. So, if a thunderstorm hits during their nightly routine, it is likely to send them flying for cover sooner than on a clear night.
What Time of Year Do Fireflies Come Out?
Fireflies are a hallmark of summer, but the exact time at which they begin to emerge from their winter home varies from season to season.
Fireflies actually spend the majority of their lives as larvae. The larvae live underground through the fall, winter, and early spring months before morphing into adults and taking to the air for a few weeks to a couple of months in the summer.
Weather and climate plays a huge role in when the adult fireflies begin to emerge.
If the previous winter was mild, the firefly larvae probably had access to more food, which would have allowed them to grow more quickly. If the mild weather continues throughout the spring, the adults may emerge earlier than normal, having been fooled into thinking that summer arrived prematurely.
On the other hand, an extremely cold winter probably led to food shortages and a slowed growth rate. During such years, the fireflies may come out later than usual.
A wet winter and spring may also lead to earlier appearances of the fireflies, while drought during the months leading up to summer can lead to later appearances.
Regardless of the weather, fireflies tend to come out sometime within the period of late May through late June. Some only live for a few weeks, while others may fill the skies for as long as two months.
The fireflies mate and lay eggs during this time; they begin to die off in late July through early August. Then, the eggs hatch in the fall and spend their time below ground during the winter before beginning the process again when warm weather returns.
Check out this beautiful video of fireflies lighting up summer evenings:
Fireflies come out at night throughout the summer months. There are many different species of firefly, and each species makes its appearance at a different time of night.
Fireflies begin appearing as early as late May and may be seen through early August. The adults die after laying their eggs, and the larvae spend the fall, winter, and early spring months buried underground, waiting for the weather to warm up before once again emerging as full grown bioluminescent beetles.