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Lightning Bug

I spotted the first lightning bug in the garden today and couldn't help smiling. To me nothing says summer in Chicago like catching the first lightning bug- which is really a soft bodied beetle and not a fly. Like just about everyone else, as a kid I caught these bugs and kept them in jars.

But there was one particularly bad seed on my block, as a child, who took great pleasure in mashing them into the sidewalk to leave a glowing streak. Sometimes this kid would tear off the lower abdomen and stick it on his ear like an earring.

Aside from being temporary toys for children these beetles are good to have in the garden. They can be found in dark and moist areas in the garden where the larvae prey on terrestrial snails, slugs and unfortunately earthworms.


  1. A lovely photo...I'd sadly forsake a few earthworms to have something to eat the slugs.

  2. What a fabulous picture! I love watching lightening bugs1

  3. great shot. We saw our first lightning bugs this weekend, too.

  4. I wish we had these little critters in our neck of the world. Would love to have something that would take on our huge slugs.
    Yet, another incrediable shot.
    All the best, Bob

  5. One of the down sides of living in CA is no lightning bugs...they were one of my favorite parts of summer when I was growing up in Ohio..I had no idea they ate snails and slugs!

  6. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Great pictures you've on your blog!!! The bug photos are excellent. You just reminded me of the fact that I need a new camera.... *S*

    Thanks for stopping by :-)

  7. Anonymous9:32 PM

    That's a fabulous photo, Mr. Brownthumb! I didn't know about the benefits of lightning bugs (beyond how beautiful they are) -- thanks for the lesson!

  8. Nice close up. The last time I saw these was about 4 years ago, when I spotted one at night.

    They used to be numerous in Oklahoma.

  9. Oh I have those too! I am in Ontario Canada.
    They eat the leaves on my lillies.

    mine is up

  10. That is a cool picture, MrBrownThumb. I love the look of those bugs ...I don't think they live here though or I would remember them from my childhood!

  11. What a great shot! I agree, lightening bugs mean summer to me. When we lived in the old section of town, we had lots. Now we live smack dab in the middle of suburbia where insecticides flow in abundance and don't see as many. I had a lone one in my yard last night and I think I watched him for 30 minutes! Hope you had a great GTS and even better Father's Day!

  12. Anonymous11:30 PM

    Very, very cool photo of beetle. We don't have these guys on the west coast but I have fond memories of them during my visits to my cousin's place in the mid-west.

    I don't know why my webpage doesn't link to my site. I thought it would.

  13. Hi Mr Brown thumb,
    Great picture, sounds like one of the kids i used to know who would pull the legs off daddy long legs (crane flies). Looks like to carn't win with that bug though.

    Cheers Mark

  14. Hi all,

    Thanks for stopping by and for the comments. It is interesting to learn that some areas don't have these bugs. I guess I just take it for granted that everyone has come across them.


    I don't know why but your name in the comments isn't an active link when you post. I think the same thing is true for Sarah (from farmingfriends) see if this works:

    When you're commenting on blogger chose the "other" option and in the firs field put your name and in the field where it says "Your Web Page" type in the url to your blog like so "" without the "" and see if that works.



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