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Do LED Lights Attract Bugs?

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Do bugs appear from nowhere when you turn on the lights at night? Due to speculations as to whether LED bulbs attract insects or not, we wanted to address this issue. So do LED lights attract bugs? Let’s find out. 

Do LED Lights Attract Bugs?

LED light may not attract bugs since different bugs see varying wavelengths. Moreover, LED lights generate little heat and UV light, making them unattractive to most bugs. This is because they produce longer light wavelengths. 

However, certain species of bugs are drawn to UV light, which they use for navigation, and attracted to short light wavelengths. Lights that produce more short light wavelengths attract more bugs while bulbs that produce longer wavelengths are less visible. 

Old light bulb on the ground crawling with ants

Why Are Insects Attracted to Light?

The reason why bugs are attracted to LED lights is that they mistake the bulbs for the moon. Insects converge around a light bulb because they use the moon as their navigational compass. That’s why insects keep the moonlight at a steady angle while they are moving around.

Since some bulbs are omnidirectional light sources, the insects circle around the lamps to keep them at a steady angle. Some bugs are also attracted to the heat generated by the bulb, especially when they want to get warm. 

Another reason why insects gather around a bulb is that they mistake LED lights for flowers. Since flowers reflect ultraviolet light, bugs confuse them for flowers.

What Light Color Attracts Bugs?

According to scientists from the Punjab Agricultural Research Station (PARS), bugs are attracted to different color spectrums instead of specific light bulbs. The research revealed the following:

  • 2% of the insects were attracted to the red spectrum
  • 4.7% to green
  • 10% to yellow
  • 18% to white
  • 22% to blue

The study is interesting because it also revealed that bugs detect short light wavelengths (ultraviolet) better than long light wavelengths. So if you want to minimize bugs in your home, avoid ultraviolet light. The findings also show that LED light manufacturers can’t claim their bulbs won’t attract bugs.

Are LED Lights More Favorable for Bugs?

LED lights are cooler compared to incandescent or ultraviolet lights. This means insects that hang around the bulbs won’t burn. However, if you leave the LED light outside, it can attract more bugs. 

Outdoor lamp light

An Ecology and Evolution journal compared bulbs using warm-white LED, cool-white LED, CFL, and incandescent lights. The study revealed that LEDs attract fewer bugs because insects are attracted to ultraviolet light (invisible light) unlike LEDs that transform electrical energy into visible light 

Again, LEDs generate less heat than incandescent bulbs. These two factors cause LEDs to attract fewer bugs. So if you want an insect-free home, begin exchanging your incandescent and CFL bulbs for LED bulbs.

Can Blue Lights Repel Insects?

We have already seen that blue is the most attractive color for bugs. That’s why some restaurant devices utilize this color in bug-repelling lights well. Bugs get attracted to blue lights easily. They come into contact with the electrical grid that’s integrated into the devices and die.

Apart from attracting bugs, blue light also causes the death of some insects such as flour beetles and fruit flies. The insects die due to overexposure to the light, which damages their body cells. For instance, the lifespan of fruit flies is shortened when exposed to too much light. 

On average, the insect can survive for 58 days. However, it can only live up to 3 days when overexposed to blue light. Although those are fantastic findings, you can’t try this in your house. It will be full of insects every few days.

What About Yellow LED Lights?

Several LED lights are available on the market to repel insects away from your house. Unfortunately, most of these lights do not make insects stay away from an area. Since yellow is the third least color, it’s not very attractive to bugs. However, it attracts fewer insects compared to blue light

Although warm color LED bulbs attract fewer bugs, yellow lights are used in farms to control insects’ behavior. This idea works on moths that destroy fruits because their behavior is controlled by light. However, you can’t use this strategy in a domestic setting. 

What Are the Perfect Lights for Repelling Insects?

Like most people, you probably desire to make your home insect-free. However, research shows that bugs can still be attracted to LED lights despite your efforts. Fortunately, you can minimize bugs in your house by turning to warm-color bulbs

LED lights attracting bugs in the ceiling

If you are still troubled with tiny flying bugs in your home, try the following:

  • Clean your drains and gutters regularly to destroy breeding ground for mosquitoes
  • Install window screens to prevent critters from entering inside the house
  • Hung an insect zapper outside to trap the bugs 

Other Lighting Factors to Pay Attention To

Brightness and heat can determine how attractive LED light is to bugs. If a bulb produces a lot of heat and brightness, it will attract more insects. Also, high wattage bulbs that use incandescent attract bugs even when they emit yellow light.

That’s why nowadays most yellow bulbs are CFLs. These bulbs create more illumination, however, at a lower wattage. In turn, this produces less heat that repels away bugs. Since LEDs produce less heat, minimal bugs hang around them.

Related Questions

Before we finish this article, we wanted to address a couple of questions on this topic.

What Color LED Does Not Attract Bugs?

Orange, pink and yellow are the least attractive colors to most bugs while white fluorescent and white incandescent attract more insects.

Do LED Strip Lights Attract Bugs?

Yes. LED lights attract bugs. This means you might have some insects flying around your LED lights. However, they attract fewer bugs than incandescent lights.

Conclusion

If you want to have fewer bugs in your home, use warm-color LED bulbs. They might not attract as many bugs as other types of lighting options you can have in your home. Also, avoid bulbs that produce more short light wavelengths since they attract a lot of insects.