Outdoor Lighting Options That Won’t Attract Bugs

You can take steps to prevent insect infestations, but there’s one thing many homeowners do that actually directs pests right to the front door: if you leave the front porch light on at night it’s like a beacon for bugs.

Since leaving the porch lights on is recommended for home security, the best solution isn’t always to switch the light off. What you need is a different light bulb. That’s right, simply changing the bulb could keep bugs from buzzing around your door at night. But which light bulb is the best at deterring burglars and bugs?

Let’s find out!

Why Some Bugs Are Attracted to Light

Some bugs are attracted to lights while others are repelled by it. So what’s the difference?

Phototaxis is the scientific term for how an organism’s body reacts to light. Positive phototaxis means that an animal is attracted to light, and negative phototaxis makes an animal move away from light. Nocturnal insects, like cockroaches and earthworms, have a negative phototaxis.

Many flying insects are the exact opposite: they have a positive phototaxis. It’s a natural instinct for them to move towards the light and hover around it. Some insects can resist the urge, but others (moths and flies) simply can’t help themselves. Entomologists aren’t sure why many insects have a positive phototaxis, but it’s clear that they do.

Why Yellow Bug Bulbs Are a Good Idea

If you can’t dissuade bugs from being attracted to light, the best thing homeowners can do is use lighting that insects can’t see. Larvae have simple eyes that can only differentiate between dark and light. Adult insects on the other hand have compound eyes that go beyond light and dark.

However, adult insect sight is a little more complex. Adult insects have either bichromatic or trichromatic eyesight. Insects with bichromatic eyesight have two types of color receptors whereas trichromatic eyesight have three color receptors. The bugs with trichromatic eyesight can see more colors.

The light spectrum includes a variety of colors. Different colors are seen at different wavelengths, which are measured in nanometers. Insects, like humans, can’t detect the entire spectrum of light.

In general, the longer/lower the wavelength is the less likely a bug is to see the associated color. Looking at a light spectrum chart you’ll notice that warmer colors like red, orange and yellow have the lowest/longest wavelengths. Red, which is at the far end of the spectrum, is actually completely invisible to insects.

Lighting manufacturers have caught on to insect eyesight anatomy. In recent years they’ve started making specially colored bulbs that are specifically designed for outdoor use so you can get decent illumination while attracting fewer bugs.

The best option is going to be a yellow compact fluorescent light (CFL). Yellow is the point where the wavelengths start getting longer. CFLs offer the best energy efficiency and emit less heat. Other yellow-tinted light bulb options that go unnoticed by insects include sodium vapor and halogen bulbs.

Other Lighting Factors to Consider

There are two other factors that will affect how attractive light is to night-flying insects – heat and brightness. The more heat and brightness a light puts off the more bugs it will attract. High wattage bulbs and lights that use glowing filaments (halogen and incandescent) will provide a warm welcome for bugs even if they put off a yellow light.

That’s why today most yellow bug lights are CFLs. This type of bulb creates more illumination but at a lower wattage. That means less heat is emitted by compact flourescent lightbulbs.

Warm and Cool “White” LEDs Also Work

Unlike us humans, insects can see ultraviolet (UV) light, and it’s their favorite. UV light has a very short wavelength and beams out further.

recent study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution found that both warm and cool LED lights attract about half as many insects as CFLs. Many LED bulbs emit almost no UV light, and they also put off almost no heat. When LEDs have a warm “white” color it creates the ideal lighting for the front of a home.

A rule of thumb for LEDs is the lower the Kelvin (K) temperature, the more yellow the light will be. LEDs that are around 3000K will have a yellow tint. Once you get close to 6,000 Kelvins LEDs start to have the characteristic blue tint that bugs like because it has a shorter wavelength that their eyes can detect.

Homeowners should note that it’s virtually impossible to keep all bugs from congregating around the porch light. Even yellow bug bulbs will emit shorter wavelengths that a few insects may pick up on. And once one bug finds the light larger bugs will be more likely swing by for an easy meal.

Keep more bugs out of your yard and away from your front door no matter what porch light you have with regular pest control treatments. Our highly trained technicians will clear out the cobwebs, nests and hiding spots that attract bugs both day and night. Give us a call to learn more about scheduling pest control service in Central Alabama.

Original Source: http://www.vulcantermite.com/home-improvement/outdoor-lighting-options-that-wont-attract-bugs/