The Fascinating World of Insects and their Attraction to Lights


A motive that transcends generations, habitats, or even species - a simple question that hyperlinks the inscrutability of nature to the complexities of science, "Why are insects attracted to lights?". This enigma is not merely just a query for biologists or entomologists but goes beyond that, it is a question of interest to every curious mind. This article takes a deep dive into the insect world, focusing on understanding why these tiny creatures find it so irresistible to gravitate towards lights, especially LED Lights.

At, we offer a wide range of visually stunning yet functional outdoor lighting collections - from pendant lights to chandeliers, and we try to contribute towards scientific understanding and consumer awareness about distinct prospects of lights.

Understanding the Insect’s Attraction towards LED Lights

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Lights have the propensity to attract insects. But what makes them so irresistible to these little creatures? This attraction can be traced back to the evolutionary journey and the biology of these critters. Let's delve deeper into their world and unravel the secret behind their behavior.

The Biological Explanation

Insects' behaviors towards lights can be linked in part to their innate orientation systems. Many insects use natural light sources, such as the sun or the moon, as navigational tools to guide their flight, look for food, find their mates, or escape from predators. This is a phenomenon known as phototaxis – the movement of an organism towards or away from light. It's exhibited in two types - positive phototaxis (attraction to light) and negative phototaxis (repulsion from light). Most insects show positive phototaxis, and this is one of the primary reasons they get attracted to artificial light sources.

By which mechanism, you may ask? Many insects navigate by keeping the source of light at a constant angle, a behavior known as transverse orientation. For example, if a moth maintains the moon, a fixed light source, at a particular angle, it can fly in a straight line. However, when the light source is a close and shifting LED light, insects can get confused and end up spiraling towards it.

The Role of Light Spectrum

Insects see and are attracted by a broad spectrum of light. They can perceive ultraviolet (UV) light and are most sensitive to these short wavelengths often emitted by LED lights. Our energy-efficient ceiling light bulbs emit less of this UV spectrum than their traditional counterparts, diminishing their allure to the insect populace.

Insects Tricked by the 'Light Trap'

Another theory suggests insects might mistake artificial lights for the reflected moonlight off various surfaces (like water bodies), which in nature often signals a worthy habitat or suitable feeding ground. Therefore, they move towards the artificial light considering it a resource.

Moreover, bright lights can lead insects to become "trapped" because the robust and continuous stimulus from the light causes an overstimulation of their senses, which makes them keep circling the light until they get exhausted.

LED Lights vs Traditional Lights: Impact on Insects

comparing traditional incandescent bulbs, CFL, and halogen lights with LED vs CFL vs Halogen bulbs in terms of their allure to insects.

Tips to Reduce Insects Around Lights

While we can't entirely eliminate the phototaxic response in insects, we can take steps to prevent the annual insect congregation around our lights. Here are a few tips:

  1. Opt for Warm-colored Lights: Warm-colored LED lights are less attractive to insects than cool-colored ones. So, replacing your bulbs can be a good start.
  2. Reduce Light Pollution: Minimize unnecessary outdoor lighting. Opt for sensor-based lights or adjustable reading lights for indoor use.


The question, "Why are insects attracted to lights?" unravels a captivating saga of how nature, human tech progression, and the creatures' biology intertwine. And as we make strides in our scientific journey, the better we will understand these marvels of nature. Meanwhile, with the best light bulbs from Querencian, we can strike a balance between human comfort, aesthetics, and the wellbeing of Mother Nature's fascinating critters.

Explore our range of lights that not only provide elegance and flexibility, but also let's help pave the way towards a sustainable cohabitation with our tiny flighty neighbors. We, at Querencian, are committed to illuminating your homes, while also enlightening the path towards a more conscious choice.

In a world of glimmers, let's choose to shine responsibly!

Frequently Asked Questions about Insects and Lights

Why are bugs attracted to LED Lights?

Bugs, or insects in general, are attracted to LED lights due to their innate orientation systems. They mistake artificial light sources like LED lights as natural light sources (like the sun or the moon) and use them to navigate, locate food, mates, or escape predators. The close proximity and shifting of these artificial light sources confuses the insects, causing them to move toward the light instead of maintaining a clear path. Additionally, LED lights often emit short wavelengths including UV light, to which many insects are incredibly sensitive and thus drawn towards.

How do you get rid of insects that are attracted to light?

While it's almost impossible to change an insect's genetic predisposition toward light, there are a few practical steps you can take to minimize their presence around lights:

  • Use warm-colored lights: Warm-colored LEDs attract fewer insects compared to cool-colored ones.
  • Minimize light pollution by reducing unnecessary outdoor lighting. Consider the use of sensor-based lights that only turn on when required.
  • Keep your windows and doors shut during the peak insect activity time, especially when indoor lights are on.
  • Regular pest control measures can also keep the insect population in check.

Why are insects attracted to fluorescent light?

Insects are attracted to fluorescent lights for the same reasons they are drawn to other types of light - their internal navigation systems get confused by artificial light sources. Fluorescent lights emit a substantial amount of UV light, which is highly attractive to many insects. Therefore, using fluorescent lights outdoors or near windows can often result in an increased number of insects in those areas.

What light is used to attract insects?

For scientific research or pest control purposes, lights that emit UV or blue light are typically used to attract insects. Bug zappers, for example, use black light (a type of UV light) to lure and eliminate insects. Similarly, light traps used for capturing and studying insects often use a combination of bright white, UV, and blue light. However, it's important to note that different types of insects are attracted to different light wavelengths, and what's attractive to one species might not be for another.

Back to blog