Outdoor Lights That Don’t Attract Bugs

In general, the sky’s the limit when it comes to lighting in your yard or garden. However, there’s nothing worse than outdoor lights that attract bugs whilst you enjoy a peaceful evening in your garden.

The good news is that there is a simple solution to reduce the number of bugs attracted to your garden lighting. This solution lies in simply picking the right light bulbs for your outdoor area.

In the Summer of 2016, two scientists from the University of North Carolina tested every single type of light bulb at night time to find out what outdoor lights attract bugs. The results were revolutionary and thanks to this experiment, we now know what garden lights need to be avoided to keep bugs away from our homes.

Bugs attracted to light bulb in the dark

The Outdoor Lighting Experiment

Every night for an entire summer, scientists Mike and Teresa Justice set up a bug trap and turned on a single bulb inside. The type of light bulb changed every single night to test what bulbs attracted the most bugs.

Environmental conditions, such as weather and moonlight, were closely monitored to ensure the results of the study were as accurate as possible.

Over the summer, almost 9000 bugs fell prey to the light, but some lights pulled in more than their share.

So, what outdoor lights attracted the most bugs?

At the end of the summer-long experiment, the pair determined that incandescent bulbs attracted the most bugs, followed by CFL, halogen, LED with a cool color temperature and a standard ‘bug’ light.

outdoor lights that don't attract bugs infographic

What outdoor lights don’t attract bugs?

Thanks to the results of this experiment, we now know what outdoor lights attract the least amount of bugs. Listed below are the light bulbs that attracted the least bugs to the light bulbs that attracted the most bugs in this experiment.

  1. Warm LED Bulbs
  2. Yellow ‘Bug’ Lights
  3. Halogen Lights
  4. CFL
  5. Incandescent Bulbs

So, are there outdoor lights that don’t attract bugs?

According to the experiment, all outdoor lights attract bugs regardless of their light bulb. However, as the results show, warm LED lights attract the least bugs. So, if you have a choice, choose a warm yellow-orange LED bulb to avoid a large number of insects in your garden.

bugs and insects attracted to outdoor light

What to do if your garden lights attract bugs?

When the lights in your garden do attract bugs, try to eliminate their attraction by avoiding placing them where you'll see them through the windows or patio doors.

Many insects like to get away from bright light, so in addition to simply finding a bug repellent, try to find a bright color that won’t attract insects.

Before any bug repellent is used, try to remove any possible food sources such as pet food, leftover fruit from a platter, or even bugs that are caught in a covered, outdoor setting.

If these methods don’t keep the bugs away, try changing the bulbs to warm LED, fluorescent, and compact fluorescent lighting. All of these types of bulbs are less appealing to bugs and make it much harder for them to find a bug-friendly pathway.

Outdoor lighting is not the solution to all of the home-garden issues, but it may help prevent some of them. If you liked this blog post, follow our outdoor lighting blog for advice and tips on outdoor lighting.

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