LEDs and Insects

I read in a book about LED lights that one of the benefits of their use is that they do not attract insects as do incandescant lights.

This comes from the book (“LED Lighting” by Sal Cangelso, ISBN: 978-1-449-33476-5) - page 16:

But this does not seem to be 100% correct. I have seen LED lights attract insects (mosquitos, moths etc).
Maybe they attract less insects.

Does any one know some more facts on this?

Is one LED tint less likely than others to attract these pesky insects?

My personal experience is that they do, just not as much, so it seems.
I have found that I can’t use the CREE 4flow bulbs outside because they have vent holes in the plastic diffuser that allows the bugs to actually get inside the bulb and muck up the bare LEDs. The original CREE bulb with the silicone coated glass globe isn’t that great either because that outer coating is sticky and the bugs stick to it.

I bet that Cree never thought of insects when designing the 4flow bulb, and I bet also that eventually every bulb of this type gets filled up with insects . Burnt insect remains may be good for led tint .

I read an article a while ago that claimed that most LEDs attract ~50% more insects than incan due to the blue wavelengths. I think it was from a NZ based research company, I never followed up on the source so don’t know if there is much validity to the claim,

Just my two cents worth: we had strip leds (5630, WW) in the back of a row of pop up shelters, and a mix of fluorescent and incan in the front, and there were no bugs buzzing around the leds for the entire night. (Maybe there would have been some if it had only been led…)

Switch your search engine to Google Scholar


Here’s a recent review, a full issue of the journal on the subject.


Theme issue: ‘The biological impacts of artificial light at night: from molecules to communities’
05 May 2015; volume 370, issue 1667
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 2015 370 20140133; DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0133. Published 16 March 2015

Shorter: the answer varies depending on which insect is around, at which stage of life, and which kind and brightness of light sources are operating within their range.

Don’t be put off by the name of the journal, they’ve been around about as long as science.

I had heard similar things so I tried this:

I was camping at a site that had AC power available. I took along a portable halogen work light, along with several LED lights. I used an extension cord to locate the halogen light away from my camp site, pointing away from me. I then illuminated my camping area and picnic table with LED lights. The halogen light attracted bugs, which surrounded that area. The LED-illuminated area remained mostly bug-free. The LEDs I used were mostly a typical CW tint…

If you go back to about 12-13 years ago, CPF has some threads on this issue.

I’ve spent a lot of time outside in the dark hiking with them, and I’ve found it VERY highly varies based on what time of year, what type of insects are around, what is the temperature out, and what exactly are you doing with them (sitting around with the light on vs walking, some insects take time to show up, so if you just walk by its not a big deal).

In general I have noticed that the cheaper more CW lamps in general also attract many more insects, and I’ve only ever noticed lots of attracted insects utilizing more CW/NW light. Its very rare that its really a problem, however on a few hikes, I actually stopped the person I was hiking with who had a cheap CW headlamp complaining about insects attracted/hitting her in the face, and gave her my WW light (which was actually even brighter) instead and the problem completely went away. Turned the other light back on, and suddenly we had many insects zooming through the beam again like magic. Tried an hour or so later along the hike and it didn’t attract many at all. This could have been 10 degree drop in temperature, or just a slightly different area/habitat where different insects were present.

Isn’t it more about the heat the bulb produces? I think bugs are drawn to heat. An incandescent is like a thermal lighthouse to bugs.