It’s no secret that bugs are attracted to light. But now, scientists are working to figure out ways to make LED bulbs less ‘bug-friendly,’ which is good news for all of us!
It turns out that many bugs that spread disease, including mosquitoes, sandflies, and the kissing bugs that transmit malaria, leishmaniasis, and Chagas (to name just a few) are attracted to blue, violet and ultraviolet lights. Older LED bulbs give off more of a blue light than newer bulbs, and fluorescent bulbs can emit violet and ultraviolet light. By altering the wavelengths of certain LED lights, researchers found that it’s possible to make these lights less attractive to pesky insects.
Until scientists can fine-tune light bulbs to minimize their attractiveness to insects, LEDs are a better choice than fluorescents if you need to use lights outside at night, because fluorescent bulbs are by far the most popular with our flying friends. The hope is that through work with insects and trial-and-error tuning of light wavelengths, researchers can come up with an energy efficient light bulb that won’t bring the bugs to your barbecue party. Read more about this research here.