Domitrius Barkwood

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What Do Fireflies Eat?

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Fireflies are probably some of the most whimsical insects alive.  They are loved insects because of their unique ability to show light using their light-emitting organs.  Fireflies are also called glow-worms or lightning bugs and they are beetles that belong to the Coleopteran order.  There are over 2000 species of fireflies found and they produce a ‘cold light’ to attract mates or food.  The light of fireflies depends on the specie.  Some can produce a bolder light than others and they can produce a wide range of colors such as yellow, green, or pale red.

What Do Fireflies Eat and Drink?

The type of food fireflies eat depends on their species and age.  Fireflies, like many other beetle species, do have a larval stage as a young insect.  Firefly larvae are all carnivorous.  As adult fireflies, their diet can greatly differ.  Some fireflies do not eat anything at all in their short lives.  As fully grown beetles, they only live to reproduce before they die.  Some firefly species become carnivores as adults and others become herbivores.

Here is a quick look at the most common food these insects love to eat.


Fireflies and larvae do need to drink water to survive.  They do not need much water.  If you offer them too much water, they can fall into the water and drown.  If you are keeping a firefly then you should offer it a little bit of freshwater.

Sugar water

Some firefly species eat nectar.  But if you cannot find a lot of nectar, you can feed it on sugar water.  Mix a little bit of warm water and sugar and place it in a bowl with your firefly.  Sugar water is a good alternative food to offer nectar eating animals and insects such as fireflies and hummingbirds.

Nectar and pollen

Some adult fireflies do eat nectar and pollen they find in plants.  They will visit all sorts of plants to find enough nectar and pollen.  A great many flower species are ideal food sources for fireflies but they do prefer sweeter floral species that have a lot of pollen.

Soft-bodied insects

In the larval stage, fireflies are carnivores.  They prefer to eat soft-bodied insects that are easy to devour.  Firefly larvae mostly consume soft insects they find in the ground such as snails, slugs, worms, and the larvae of other insects such as ants and other beetles.

Firefly larvae

All firefly larvae are carnivore insects and most of them will eat their own species.  Firefly larvae will seek out other baby fireflies to eat them.

Smaller fireflies

Some adult fireflies are also carnivore species.  They mostly hunt for and eat other fireflies.  Fireflies often use their lights to attract prey that might be looking for a mate.  Instead of reproducing with these attracted fireflies, the firefly will catch and eat each other.

Small insects

Adult carnivore fireflies mostly eat other fireflies but they will also eat other small insects they find.  They often use their lights to attract other insects so they can catch and eat these bugs that are attracted by light.

Diet Variations

Fireflies don’t have too many diet variations.  They mostly feed on small animals, larvae, each other, and soft-bodied insects.  Without suitable food, these insects will die.

How to Feed Fireflies?

To feed a firefly, you need to offer it the right food.  You should also offer a pet firefly some water so it can stay hydrated.

The best food to offer larvae fireflies are worms and small slugs.  You can also offer adult fireflies other small insects or flowers or sugar water depending on its species.

What Do Fireflies Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, fireflies only eat the food they find in their natural habitat.  Since they mostly eat other insects and flowers, this usually isn’t a problem for them.  They frequently use their lights to attract other insects so they can easily catch their prey.

What do Baby Fireflies Eat?

Baby fireflies are called larvae and they look a lot like worms.  All firefly larvae are carnivores and they all eat soft-bodied insects and larvae.  They mostly focus on foods that are much smaller than they are but in the case of some soft-bodied foods such as slugs, the firefly larvae will hunt and eat food that is much bigger than they are.

How Much Do Fireflies Eat?

The exact amount of food a firefly eats in a day is unclear.  There are just so many species and they all differ in size.  As larvae, they do however have a much healthier diet compared to adult fireflies.  Adult fireflies don’t eat much or often and some don’t eat anything at all.

How Often Do Fireflies Eat?

Adult fireflies don’t live very long.  Some species only live for a few days while others only live a few months.  In this time, their main focus is on reproduction and not on food.  They don’t eat much at all as adult fireflies and some don’t eat at all.

It is unclear just how much fireflies eat.  They do however only eat the bare minimum food they need to survive since their main focus is set on finding a mate so they can reproduce.

Firefly larvae prefer to eat daily but if food is scarce, they can endure for a few days without food.

What Foods Are Toxic To Fireflies?

Fireflies usually avoid foods that do not fall into their normal food diet.  They are not too likely to ingest foods that are toxic to them such as odd plant matter.  They can however get poisoned by feeding on larvae and soft-bodied insects that have been in contact with pesticides.  Pesticides have had a huge toll on the number of fireflies found on our planet.  In our journey to reduce harmful insects such as ants, we often end up killing a great many fireflies along with these insects.

Fireflies sure are beautiful creatures and they do have a tough life to live.  A lot more needs to be done to preserve these beautiful insects so they can continue to bring us joy.  Sadly, they are not the easiest insects to care for or breed.  The best way to preserve these animals is by avoiding the use of toxic pesticides so these natural hunters can take their place in balancing the eco-system.

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