The South is famous for two things: heat and bugs. Mosquitoes seem to love me. For my wife, a flock of gnats swarm her every time we walk past a pond.
When I upgraded my garage lighting, I wanted to make it brighter without attracting bugs and flying insects.
So, do LED lights attract bugs?
I did some research to find out if LED lights attract bugs more than other lights, which I’ll share in this article.
Let’s get started!
Why Light Attracts Bugs
So, why are some bugs drawn to light?
Believe it or not, there’s no simple answer to that question.
Some scientists believe insects’ eyes are much more light-sensitive than ours. Also, insects see a broader visible spectrum of light than humans do.
That means our porch lights, which look dim and give off very little heat, may look like a lighthouse beacon to bugs.
Others believe insects are drawn to light for its warmth, attracting other beneficial insects and pests.
Some bugs, like whiteflies and aphids, are not particularly attracted to light. Still, they need it to carry out their life cycle. For example, some parasitic wasps need light to lay their eggs on the leaves of the plants that feed their prey (aphids).
Other pest insects are around when you turn on your outdoor lights at night. So, for example, if you find a spider in your garage and wonder how it got there, chances are good that it crawled in when you left the lights on.
Finally, some bugs will be drawn to your porch or other artificial light sources if it is a way to escape predators.
Do LED Lights Attract Bugs?
LED, or Light-Emitting Diode lights, have become extremely popular recently. Unlike conventional incandescent bulbs, they don’t have a filament that heats up to produce light.
Because there’s no filament, LED lights last years longer than older bulbs and are more energy efficient.
In addition to higher energy efficiency, LED bulbs don’t give off as much heat as other types of lighting, compared with different kinds of lighting, such as incandescent bulbs.
But, do LED lights attract bugs?
No scientific evidence supports the claim that LED lights attract insects. In fact, a 2016 research paper from The University of Bristol (UK) concluded that “LED lights attracted significantly fewer insects than other light sources. “
Traditional incandescent lights give off short-wavelength, ultraviolet (UV) visible light, which attracts some insects. On the other hand, LED lights emit invisible infrared radiation (IR), not UV light.
LED light bulbs also emit minimal heat, meaning insects drawn to a heat source won’t find LED lights as appealing.
Finally, LED lights are directional and can’t be seen from as far away as other bulbs unless they have reflectors. That also makes them less attractive to insects and pests.
What Color Light Bulbs Keep Bugs Away?
LED light bulbs will do a better job of keeping more bugs away from your garage, but we can go a step further.
If you’re searching for outdoor lights that don’t attract bugs, certain colors of lights will be less attractive to bugs than others.
A Virginia study in 2016 found that lights with warmer color temperatures attracted significantly fewer insects than those with cooler color temperatures.
Color temperature, measured in degrees Kelvin, refers to where the light falls along the color spectrum. The higher the color temperature, the longer the light’s wavelength and the “warmer” the tone.
For more details., see my guide to choosing the best color temperature for garage lighting.
The short explanation is a warm-colored LED light (yellow and red) attracts fewer bugs than an LED light bulb on the blue light spectrum (blue and purple).
Other Ways to Keep Bugs Away
Switching to LED lights in your garage has a lot of benefits. I tested several popular LED shop lights before upgrading my own garage. Find out which ones I recommend here.
- Will last fifteen times longer than traditional bulbs.
- Do not use filaments. They can’t break or shatter like incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs.
- They are more energy efficient.
- Don’t need to “warm up” like fluorescent bulbs.
- Can be very small, so they take up very little space in your garage.
We naturally prefer cool-white lights, especially for detail work. However, warmer colors, like red or yellow light bulbs, will attract fewer bugs.
Another way to keep your home bug-free is to install motion-sensor light fixtures outside.
These lights turn on automatically when they sense movement and can be programmed to turn off after a short delay. They’re great to place around the perimeter of your house. Not only are you adding security, but you’re directing flying insects to the lights outside instead of inside your garage.
Also, ensure your screens are in good condition and properly installed. If there are any holes or tears, fix them right away!
Lastly, many different kinds of bug lights emit high-frequency sounds. These bug zappers use electricity to kill flying insects. They attract insects by emitting light and a chemical substance that lures them.