Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

When Do Lightning Bugs Come in Spring?

By Nicole Long

Little flashes of light dot the sky in spring, ushering in warmer temperatures and longer days. The focus of kids and other lightning bug chasers, lightning bugs come out to play in the spring and add to the beauty of the season.


Male and female lightning bugs mate in the spring. Females lay approximately 50 eggs that will hatch in about three weeks, typically in July. Growth takes place in the soil where larvae overwinter in the soil then transform into lightning bugs ready for emergence the following spring.


Typically, lightning bugs emerge around the end of May or beginning of June for the spring mating ritual. Male lightning bugs take to the sky and begin flashing, with the help of the chemical luciferase, to attract females for mating purposes.


Lightning bugs only live two to four weeks. At least 136 species of lightning bugs exist. Lightning bugs prefer the soil and environment east of the Rocky Mountains and areas with limited lights, such as rural environments.


About the Author


Nicole Long is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. With experience in management and customer service, business is a primary focus of her writing. Long also has education and experience in the fields of sports medicine, first aid and coaching. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati.