It’s the Fourth of July again, which means barbecues and Independence Day fireworks shows all over the country. Perhaps you already have plans to pack up a picnic and head out to your local fireworks display. However, if you want fireworks that are a bit more natural, and a lot less noisy, Mother Nature comes through in a big way when it comes to the world of bugs.
That being said, here are four bugs that, in some ways, resemble fireworks. Not all of them will be found in your area, but it’s a good bet that some of them are. Without further ado, here they are:
The planthopper bugs are rather unique even when they aren’t babies. They love to live and eat plants and “hop” from one to the other. One of the things they do, especially when they are tiny nymphs, is extrude a wax-like substance from their rear end. There are a few theories as to why this is. One is that they help the nymphs descend from one plant to another more slowly. The other is that it helps make them look larger and can dissuade predators. Whatever the reason, it kind of looks like fireworks are shooting out of their hind end.
You can lay out almost anywhere in North America when the sun goes down and watch nature put on a light show. Fireflies are actually a type of beetle. They have within them chemicals that mix and react to create something known as bioluminescence. This is the bright glowing that they make, usually around twilight. The exact reasons why they light up are not know for sure. It was first thought to be an alert to predators, but new theories have emerged that believe their illumination is part of a mating ritual. Whatever it is, there are some areas where the fireflies are so numerous they can light up the night, or even areas where the bugs seem to be putting a light show with the glowing times perfectly.
You probably already know that caterpillars are the larva stage of moths or butterflies. There are a huge number of moths and butterflies that come in all sizes, shapes and colors. What you may not have known is that many species of moth have some of the most dazzling color displays present in their larva. Some of them have stalks topped with balls of color as if they are shooting fireworks out of their bodies. The above is a Giant Peacock Moth caterpillar with its brilliant blue globes all over its body. Be careful with some of these caterpillars, however, as many have evolved stingers to protect themselves from predators.
Glowing Click Beetles
— Estancia El Milagro (@ElmilagroSalta) October 4, 2015
This is a close relative of fireflies. Click beetles have also developed the ability to create bioluminescence. It’s hard to see in the photo above, but those two light-colored dots on its back glow brightly when the lights go out. Unlike fireflies, the glow click beetle does not flash its light, they remain on all the time. The lights will glow brighter if it is touched by a potential threat or predator.
Of course, most of these insects are not dangerous or considered pests. If, however, your Independence Day festivities have been marred by actual pests like mosquitoes or wasps, be sure to call the experts in pest control at Ehrlich.