Fireflies and Your Yard

Children love fireflies and many adults cherish them from their own childhood memories. The nights they appear can seem magical. But what brings fireflies to someone’s yard?


Fireflies love warm and muggy weather. They are cold-blooded, so when temperatures are cooler they’re less active. As temperature rises, so does their activity.

And like many other bugs, they love moisture. Firefly larvae feed on snails, slugs, and other insects that thrive in moist soils and brush. And once they are adults, they wait for muggy conditions to emerge and mate.

Fireflies are also known as lightning bugs and are actually a beetle of the Lampyridae family.

Attracting Fireflies

Iowa summers are great for fireflies. High heat and humidity create great conditions for these wonderful bugs, but if you want to maximize the conditions of your outdoor space for attracting fireflies, there are a few things you can do.

Longer Grass

Most important is to let your grass grow a little longer. Especially in the hot months of July and August, it’s better for your grass to be mowed at a higher setting such as 3 inches. If you have a fence line, let the grass along there grow even higher to provide good conditions for the bugs.  

Less Light

We all love our patio and porch lights. Nothing is better than a nice summer evening with friends under the dim lights. But these lights ‘confuse’ fireflies. The light signals the bugs use are communicative and extra light in your yard will interfere with their ability to communicate.

Keep a Wood Pile

Fireflies often lay their eggs in rotting logs and brush. If you have the space to store some wood under a tree or in a corner of your yard, throw down some brush and old wood and then store firewood for the coming winter on top of it.


Fireflies can be seen in the spring depending on weather conditions, but are most active in late summer. Just keep an eye out for them and in hot, muggy weather conditions, they’ll be sure to light up your lawn in no time.


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