When LED lights first became widely available, there was a lot of buzz centered around how these energy efficient lamps didn’t attract insects. However, as often happens with new technologies, misinformation abounds. The simple fact is LED lights do attract bugs, simply because insects are attracted to sources of light.
A Bug’s Favorite Color
A 2005 study conducted by the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan, found that 60%–70% of insects prefer light at the blue end of the spectrum. What about the others? Like humans, insects have their own preferences. An additional 18% chose white light, while 10% looked for yellow, and 2% preferred red. Ultraviolet (UV) light also attracts bugs which was source of the assumption that LEDs would not bring all the bugs to the yard—they emit very little UV light.
Why is it that LED lamps attract bugs? Quite simply, where there is light, there will be bugs. In addition, LED lamps typically emit light in the cool end of the color spectrum. The color temperatures of light bulbs is measured on the Kelvin absolute temperature scale. The greater the number, the cooler the light appears. LED lights—especially those with higher Kelvin ratings—produce a significant amount of blue light, thus making them more attractive to insects.
Into the Light
Good lighting, however, is an important part of an outdoor environment at night because lights provide safety while also allowing you to enjoy your outdoor living area well into the evening. Many proponents of LED lights claim that these lamps don’t attract as many bugs as other types of lighting. In a matter of speaking, this claim is correct as LED lamps do not attract as many insects as traditional CFL bulbs.
So what are homeowners supposed to do when purchasing porch lights for an outdoor living area? The answer is yellow bug lights. While yellow bug lights aren’t exactly an insect repellant, they do help keep insects away from your lighted outdoor activities at night. They work because insects have a difficult time seeing light in the yellow end of the spectrum. The good news is LED bug lights are now available, allowing you to save money while reducing insects in your backyard.