Best Bulbs to Keep Bugs at Bay



bug lights,bug zappers,fluorescent bulbs,LEDs

Dealing with pests is a part of the summertime ritual, and we all know what it’s like to face the wave of bugs that are drawn to our outdoor lighting – but what if a simple change of bulbs could cut down the insect count?

As you probably know, lots of bugs are attracted to light. What’s interesting is that these bugs are more attracted to some lights than they are to others. And, the less of that light you use the fewer insects you’ll attract.

Bug Zapper Blues  

Maybe you remember seeing a bug zapper, or even continue to use one today. If so, what color is the light inside? Odds are good that it’s blue.

That’s because scientists have known for a while that bugs are attracted to bluer, “cooler” light sources. They still don’t know why, which seems kind of amazing in this day and age, but they’re nonetheless confident that florescent bulbs and the ultraviolet light they emit is what makes bugs go batty.

So, that’s why they use fluorescent lights in bug zappers – and, it’s why you probably shouldn’t use the same kind of blue light in your patio lighting. But, what’s the best alternative?

Yellow Mellows

Insects have photoreceptors that detect light in the blue and white spectrum, but less so in the yellow and red spectrums. That means your average, run-of-the-mill incandescent bulb or sodium-vapor bulb is going to attract fewer bugs.

But, it still may not be the best option. Scientists have discovered that “tuning” lights (LEDs, in this case) can make them even more invisible to bugs. While this technology hasn’t been perfected in LED bulbs, yellow “bug lights” are available that operate on the same theory.

Buggy LEDs

It was thought for some time that bugs weren’t as attracted to LED light, because LEDs don’t always emit the ultraviolet light insects like, but they do emit blue light and bugs like that kind of light just fine.

That doesn’t mean LEDs can’t make for great patio lighting – you just need to check the packaging to see what kind of spectrum you’re using to keep the bugs at bay.

Add another layer of bug defense by burning citronella fuel like this from SunJel in your outdoor gel-fuel fireplace. 

This eco-friendly 13-watt bulb from Feit Electric casts light in the yellow spectrum to deter bugs and is rated to last more than 7 years with regular use. 

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