They go by many names: June bugs, fireflies, lightning bugs, glow worms, and – officially – photuris pensylvanica. But my childhood remembers them as June bugs because they always appeared in June no matter where I lived. They found me in Cortland, Syracuse, St. Louis, Little Rock, Chicago, Indianapolis, and other mid-West cities.
But this year, things were different. June passed with the strangest weather imaginable for our area: chilly, wet, grey. It passed without photuris pensylvanica too, and I assumed that – like some of the crops that haven’t yet been planted this year – it was the same for my flighty June friends.
But wait! This evening, July 7, on the patio I noticed what looked like a solo June bug in the middle of our small lawn. It blinked only once, as if to say, “Don’t give up on us yet.” I waited. Sure enough another bug signaled to me. Then a third.
As a child, I found it great fun to capture the June bugs and put them in a jar to see them collectively become Nature’s lightbulb. Now I would never dream of such a thing. As the night darkened, more and more flitted about, until I was positive they had definitely returned for their seasonal performance.
I hope the local crops that are planted late this year do the same.