I saw my first lighting beetles (Family Lampyridae) flashing in my backyard in southwest Ohio a little over a week ago. There were just a few; nothing to get too excited about. However, numbers have risen over the past few days to provide an impressive nighttime flashing display and I've gotten a few reports that the same is occurring in the central part of the state.
Although commonly called lightningbugs and fireflies, they are neither bugs (order Hemiptera) nor flies (order Diptera); they are beetles (order Coleoptera). There are over 2,000 species of lightning beetles worldwide and about 170 species are found in North America with most occurring east of the Mississippi. Lightning beetles are a joy of summer, delightful to look at, and fun to catch!