I’m so excited about the upcoming Fourth of July weekend! In my small town in South Jersey we make a big deal out of this patriotic holiday with a parade that marches right down the center of our main street and nighttime fireworks. What’s really fun is that all the small communities surrounding us don’t host their fireworks all on the same night, so we can go firework hopping all weekend.
I love all kinds of fireworks, including nature’s fireworks – lightening bugs, or fireflies as they’re also called. When I see the first light flash on and off in my dark yard each summer, I feel like a little kid again. When my entire back yard starts glowing in the dark, I can feel summer all around me. I know the Fourth of July is very near. The holiday and the lightening bugs go hand in hand for me.
So I thought it would be appropriate to write about some fun (and one not-so-fun) firefly facts for the Fourth of July, courtesy of Smithsonian.
- There are more than 2,000 species of fireflies.
- Fireflies are a type of beetle.
- Not all fireflies actually light up. In fact, the species Western United States don’t have the ability to produce light. (Hmmmm…. this is making me rethink my desire to move to Malibu. I can’t imagine summer without lightening bugs!)
- A chemical reaction is what makes fireflies light up. Oxygen combines with calcium, adenosine triphosphate and a chemical called luciferin, when an enzyme called luciferase is present and the combination of them all produces the light.
- A fireflies light is the most efficient light in the world. Nearly 100% of the energy in the chemical reaction is emitted as light.
- Firefly populations are declining and scientists aren’t sure why. It could be because some companies harvest them for the luciferase or it could be because of habitat destruction. They don’t migrate so if a lightning bug colony’s habitat is destroyed, so is the colony.
- Anyone can help scientists figure out why fireflies seem to be declining by participating in the Museum of Science Firefly Watch and tracking your firefly sightings throughout the season.
Happy Fourth of July, beauties! I hope you have the time to relax and enjoy the shows in the sky this weekend – whether its fireworks or fireflies!
Pure Love Grows, Donna XOXOXO