Why are bugs attracted to light?

As the summer months begin, bugs will be back and will be drawn to whatever lights they see.

Efforts to remove insects are leading to an increase in bug killers and citronella candles being bought in the warmer seasons.

White light acts as an attractant for insects


White light acts as an attractant for insectsPhoto credit: Getty

Why are bugs attracted to light?

The phenomenon of beetles swarming around bright lights is called phototaxis, which is defined as an animal or beetle moving towards or away from lights.

Scientists continue to study why this happens, but speculate that some bugs, like moths, use light as a navigation tool.

The moon plays an important role in beetle navigation, and when a light is turned on, the beetle sees it as another moon and moves toward it naturally.

In other cases, scientists believe some beetles use light as a predatory escape route.

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They use the moon as a guide to evade a predator by flying toward the light and out of range.

When they find the light, they keep circling it because, like humans, beetles suffer from night blindness.

The light confuses them, causing them to stay near the light for fear of being blind to predators if they fly off into the darkness.

Which bugs are attracted to light?

Scientists sometimes use white light to catch bugs to study them.

A light with the highest UV radiation will attract most insects and a variety of them.

Bugs primarily attracted to light include:

  • mosquitoes
  • moths
  • mosquitoes
  • To fly
  • mayflies
  • crane flies
  • Beetle
  • be crazy

How to get rid of insects at night?

If your patio is overrun with bugs, it might be worth investing in other light bulbs with a softer light.

Because bugs are attracted to white light, replacing those bulbs with a yellow or red bug light can deter most bugs from flying over them.

An alternative option would be to invest in a bug killer or citronella candles.

Zappers work by using a UV light to attract the bugs and lure them between the metal screens, where they are then electrocuted.

However, Leslie Vosshall, a professor of neurobiology at Rockefeller University, told the New York Times that insect killers don’t necessarily attract the insects that bother you.

The University of Delaware conducted a study that tracked the results of using six home insect killers over ten weeks.

The study found that while the insect killers killed 13,789 insects, only 31 of them were stable flies.

Instead of using a bug killer to repel bugs, consider using a bug repellent spray like DEET or citronella candles.

You can find mosquitoes and other biting insects by your smell—the chemicals and odors given off by your skin and the carbon dioxide you exhale.

A citronella candle will block these smells from mosquitoes, prompting them to leave you alone.

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Laurence Onion, a Vanderbilt professor of biological sciences and pharmacology, told the outlet, “Repellents don’t kill anything. They just say, “Don’t bite that, don’t eat that.” Go and live a long, happy life.”

He finally added: “They want to push [insects] away, you don’t want to drag her in.” Why are bugs attracted to light?


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