Do LED Lights Attract Bugs?

You've seen it over and over again - hundreds of bugs buzzing in the outdoor lights. Light sources attract light, no doubt, but what exactly attracts them? What's more, can anything be done to solve the problem? While there aren't many sprays, citronella oil or bugs can completely eliminate bugs, there are ways to attract even fewer bugs. LED lights can greatly reduce the number of errors. This is true because leds reduce errors compared to other light sources; They don't turn outdoor areas into bug free zones.

Much research has been done on the correlation between lighting and the presence of bugs. In the study titled insect vision: ultraviolet, color and LED light, Marianne Shockley Cruz and Rebecca Lindner, from the department of entomology at the university of Georgia, wrote, "the experimental work supports the idea that insects have color vision and are particularly sensitive to the shorter wavelengths of visible and ultraviolet light." Wavelengths are measured in nanometers, and light of shorter wavelengths (less than 550 nanometers) can be ultraviolet (UV), blue or green. Cruz and lindner also cited work identifying the relationship between the sun's ultraviolet light and the moon's ultraviolet light, and how certain errors might have guided earth. Another important point about bugs is that certain types, like mosquitoes, are attracted to heat and have heat receptors to help them find it. All this information helps determine why bugs flock to certain light sources.

Wavelength and color temperature:
The color from the light source is important because it attracts bugs. As mentioned earlier, shorter wavelengths (ultraviolet, blue and green) are more attractive to bugs than longer wavelengths (yellow, orange and red). Ultraviolet radiation from incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), halogen and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights is attractive to bugs, and because some types of bugs are affected by ultraviolet light from the sun and moon, it's a closer, brighter source. Leds produce little or no uv light, making them less visible to bugs. However, LED bulbs can still produce shorter-wavelength light (blue-white/cold-white), which is more attractive to bugs. Therefore, emit more wavelengths than 550 nanometers of light bulbs or lamps, such as warm white, ultra-warm white or yellow light.

Whether LED lights will attract bugs - electromagnetic spectrum

If the LED bulb lists the relevant color temperature (CCT) instead of the nanometer scale, it is easy to determine whether the bulb will be more or less visible to the bulb. CCTS are measured in kelvin (K), where different temperatures on the kelvin scale represent different colors. LED bulbs with CCTS below 3600K emit warm or ultra-warm white light, which is not easily visible to bugs. Bulbs with a CCT of 3600K or above will emit natural or cold white light, which is more likely to attract bugs.

LED lights attract bugs - color temperature kelvin scale

Incandescent, halogen, CFL and HID bulbs waste most of their energy in the form of heat - up to 90%. Bed bugs with heat receptors can sense the heat released by these sources. LED bulbs produce very little heat, making them less attractive to bed bugs.

LED bug light and warm color LED light:
LED bug lights are simply yellow coated bulbs that reduce the color temperature of the light they emit. Because of the coating, the bulb will emit light at peak wavelengths of about 550-600 nanometers. However, yellow-coated bulbs are not the only ones that can reduce the presence of bugs. LED lights that emit warm colors, such as yellow strip lights, yellow malibu bulbs for landscape applications, or gold filament bulbs, are perfect for creating areas that are unlikely to attract bugs.

LED bug light option
From top left to bottom right: A19 LED bulb, yellow LED strip, yellow LED malibu bulb mounted in landscape lamps, and gold LED filament bulb
Ecologist Michael Justice conducted an experiment to determine the type of house lights that attracted the least amount of bugs. He USES six types of lighting in his insect traps every night of the summer. The justice department is also trying to balance the effects of weather and lunar irradiance. His findings were presented at the 2016 meeting of the American association for the advancement of science (AAAS). "Incandescent bulbs have the highest capture rate," Justice wrote, followed by CFLS, halogen lamps, cool color temperature leds and "bug" lights. Leds with a warm color temperature have the lowest capture rate. "To summarize his findings, Justice added," from an ecological perspective, leds with warm color temperatures should be favored because they attract the fewest insects and have lower emissions. Blue spectra should reduce their contribution to light pollution, their orientation techniques allow for more accurate lighting, and they have beneficial energy conversion and life cycle assessments.

An error with an unconventional rotating LED light:
It has been determined that warm color temperature LED lights will attract fewer errors, but some LED options actually kill them to attract errors! NEBO LED Z - Bug bulbs ™ is a Bug zapper and an LED light Bulb. The bulb emits white light from its top and ultraviolet (UV) light from the centre of its cage. Ultraviolet light attracts mosquitoes and other insects to the bulb's high-voltage grid and kills them on contact.

The LED light bulb insect

Because different types of errors see different wavelengths, there is no guarantee that LED lights won't attract them. However, most errors are attracted to short-wavelength light, especially ultraviolet light; They can see it better, and some people use it to navigate. Bulbs that emit shorter wavelengths (cold white/blue) attract more bugs. Most of the longer wavelength (yellow/orange/red) lights are not visible. Heat can also draw bugs to an area. LED lights generate little or no ultraviolet light and tiny amounts of heat, making them less attractive to bugs -- as long as they emit longer wavelengths of light.

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