Another advantage of LED lights: They don’t attract bugs, and here’s why
Gary Trott, a product development innovator for Cree LED Lighting, noticed that the LR6 down lights installed at the entrance to Cree four years ago had no bugs in them. This is a remarkable characteristic for most lights. In contrast, here’s a photo of the fluorescent light fixture over my desk which was last cleaned out, um, perhaps sometime in the last decade, but on the other hand, it’s an indoor light. (I see that the bug population is so plentiful that several spiders set up shop in the fixture.)
Gary set out to find the reason why LED lights don’t attract bugs, and came across the answer pretty quickly: Most bugs are hard-wired with UV receptors. He asked Marianne Shockley Cruz, Ph.D., with the University of Georgia Department of Entomology, to summarize research about insects and light attraction, which she did in the paper “Insect Vision: Ultraviolet, Color, and LED Light.” In a nutshell:
“Color sensitivity in the UV spectrum plays an important role in foraging, navigation, and mate selection in both flying and terrestrial invertebrate animals. This attraction to UV light has made insects a useful model for understanding visual sensitivity to UV light.”
…which is why electronic bug zappers use UV light sources to attract insects. Specifically, one study indicated moths were most susceptible to the 405nm range where the Cree LR6 down light puts out almost no light.
Here’s a comparison of spectral power distributions for various light sources.
(What about mosquitoes? Unfortunately the little blood suckers are attracted to carbon dioxide and water vapor, such as you’d find in the breath of mammals, and aren’t drawn in by standard UV-based bug zappers.)