Summer is in full swing here in West Michigan! You know how I know? Because the fireflies have finally started to appear in my backyard!

I'll admit, between the lack of rain and smoke from the recent Canadian wildfires, I was starting to worry that we wouldn't see any lightning bugs at all this season! So now that they're here-- what do we call them?

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I mean, what's in a name anyway?

As far as I can remember, growing up here in West Michigan my family always called them "lightning bugs". However, after several moves across the Midwest to places like Nebraska and Missouri I find myself leaning more "firefly".


Just like the soda vs. pop debate (we'll save that for another time) I know it boils down to regional preference. I was curious to know, which term do Michiganders prefer, and why?

It turns out, there's actually a logical reason behind it!

Jason Keeler/Business Insider
Jason Keeler/Business Insider

Lightning Bug vs. Firefly

As you can see from the above map the term "lightning bug" is the preferred in the southern and eastern portions of the United States, with Michigan falling somewhere in-between.

Jason Keeler, a contributor for Business Insiderfound a correlation between regions that use the term "lightning bug" and regions of the country that see the most lightning-- the two essentially overlap!

Michigan happens to be located above the lightning-favored region, so that's probably why the southern portion of The Mitten prefers to use "lightning bug". However, judging by the map it's not uncommon to hear the term "firefly" around these parts.

So, which term do Michiganders prefer to use? Both, of course!

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