Fireflies or Lightning Bugs?
As a kid, one of my favorite summer activities was catching lightning bugs in a jar when the sun went down. Yeah, I said lightning bugs. Why? Because I'm from Iowa and almost everyone in Iowa calls them lightning bugs. Later, I moved to Minnesota and nearly everyone in the land of ten thousand lakes calls them fireflies.
So, when I moved to South Dakota, I was naturally curious as to what folks here called the little bugs that light up the night sky in the summertime. As it turns out, it depends on who you ask.
The United States is fairly divided as to what to call the little flying critters. According to this study done by Bussiness Insider, much of the east coast and west coast call them fireflies, while a large part of the south and midwest call them lightning bugs. And believe it or not, there's a reason for this.
A researcher who studies meteorology concluded in a study that the parts of the country where people more often say "lightning bug", just so happen to have more lightning strikes on average than the parts of the country that say "fireflies".
The parts of the country that are hit with the most lightning (for the most part) are in the midwest and the south. So, according to the study, that's why their residents call the creatures "lightning bugs".
So, that begs the question? Where does South Dakota fall into this debate? Well, according to the map, it's pretty evenly divided and interchangeable among most residents. The Sioux Falls area in particular ranks in the middle in terms of lightning strikes, and just as the study predicts, most residents are about 50/50 on what to call the glowing beetles.
One thing's for certain though. If you're going to capture lightning bugs/fireflies, it need to be in a mason jar, with a few holes poked in the top.
The Perry Nature Area