A recent shift has been made toward LED bulbs in everyday use. The bulbs, which emit blue wavelength light, consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last up to 100,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours for filament bulbs. They also “burn” at a cooler temperatures.
Sure, the bulbs are more environmentally efficient, lessening energy consumption and overall waste, but it can ALSO play a role in making your home significantly MORE attractive to pests… especially if your LEDs are positioned outside.
If pests are influenced to gravitate toward a home due to lighting, it becomes more likely that they will seek to get inside in their search for additional food… through cracks, gaps, and doorways or windows that are not sealed properly.
It’s obvious that insects are attracted to most sources of light… just walk down the street on a warm evening.
In addition to being attracted to white and yellow spectrum lights, they are strongly attracted to the LED wavelength of light, according to a New Zealand study… in the study, they compared insect activity near LED lights vs sodium-vapor lightbulbs. Sodium vapor is often used for streetlights in place of LEDs). The LEDs had a 48 percent INCREASE in bug activity over the sodium-vapor lights.
This increase in activity could contribute to various insects (such as the gypsy moth and other nighttime insects) to change their migration / behavior patterns due to their affinity for the blue-spectrum light. Experts believe it could even go as far as enticing the insect to change patterns and end up in the jaws of a predator.
The cause of this “fatal attraction” seems to be genetic. Insects have specific photoreceptors for blue lightwaves, according to Scion, the company which performed the study.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use lights such as LED lights. Experts suggest that you make sure you select lights that emit a spectrum that does not increase pest attraction. Research shows that LED light emissions less than 550 nanometers may be more attractive to pests than those with higher wavelengths. Basically, this means that any LEDs without ultraviolet in their spectrum should be “safer” for use than regular LEDs.
Whether you choose to stay with traditional bulbs, or decide to make the switch to LEDs, be sure to do some research beforehand… what you learn could help you avoid bug problems in the future!