Call them what you will-- fireflies or lightning bugs-- seeing those dancing lights flashing throughout your back yard is a sure sign of summer's arrival.

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kick-off to summer, it made me wonder: when can we expect to see fireflies here in West Michigan?

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Michigan Fireflies

To be honest I never really gave it much thought, but it makes sense that there are a variety of different firefly species-- about 2,000 of them! Here in Michigan we typically see Photinus Pyralis, or the common eastern firefly.

In fact, you might have more than one species of firefly in your own back yard! According to the Michigan Nature Association,

Michiganders can determine whether multiple species live in their backyard by differences in their behavior—some fly quickly into the air as they flash their bright light, others seem to float. Flashing patterns also help the fireflies distinguish between potential mates of their own species and those that are not.

When Can We Expect to See Them?

According to the Farmers' Almanac lightning bug larvae lives underground during the winter months and matures during spring before eventually,

[emerging] in early summer anywhere from the third week in May to the third week in June.

It's also worth noting the timing of the fireflies arrival is dependent on the weather, so it's hard to accurately predict when you'll see those floating lights dancing across your yard because the timeframe changes from year to year.

However, what scientists do know is that rainfall and temperature play a role. With the wet spring we've had and cooler than average temperatures, I wonder if that could delay their appearance in West Michigan.

Have you seen any fireflies in your backyard yet this season?

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