If you’ve never heard of this phenomenon, then let our team of Des Moines electricians blow your mind: Certain light bulbs attract far fewer insects than others. In fact, recent research actually gives us a clear insight as to which types of bulbs will bring in the bugs – and even gives us a potential why. If you’re tired of getting mobbed by bugs the moment your porch lights come on, then read on!

Understanding Why Bugs Like Some Bulbs Over Others

First off, it is important to note that no light on the market is thought to be bug-proof; even the least incentivizing light for insects will do nothing to deter pests, but rather will just attract them less. If you live in the Des Moines area, however, then you know that any reduction in the after-dark bugs is easily worth a few light bulb changes.

What Attracts Insects to Porch Lights?

Before we begin to look at what works and why, it is important to know why your current porch lights host a swarm of gnats, insects, and erratically flying moths within a few moments of being flipped on. If you’ve ever wondered about the interesting attraction of “the moth to the flame,” then look no further than a natural direction-orienting instinct found within most flying insects. You see, most bugs use the orientation of the moon and sun to guide themselves while they fly around; in a similar way that the naval navigators of old used the static location of stars as a waypoint, insects rely on the fact that the sun is very far away and, therefore, moves very little in relation to the insect’s flight. This obviously becomes a problem when they fly near your porchlight, as suddenly this new “sun” is not very far away, which causes them to spin around it in confusing (and likely frustrating) circles. As your light remains on, more and more insects get caught by a trap caused by their own direction-orienting instincts, eventually creating the cloud of bugs you’re used to seeing each evening.

Don’t Replicate the Sun

So, as logic dictates, if insects are attracted to the sun-like qualities of your porch lighting, all you really have to do is keep your outdoor lighting from replicating the sun. While this may sound simple, until recently, we had little-to-no way of achieving this; the rise of LED lighting has, largely by happenstance, shown us that bugs aren’t attracted to all lighting sources equally. So, what should you look for in a light bulb to keep as few bugs around as possible?

  • Low-heat: First and foremost, a light that emanates heat will radiate with small amounts of ultraviolet radiation that, to an insect, feel very much like the sun. Traditional incandescent bulbs waste upwards of 90 percent of their energy consumed to generate heat (remember putting on an oven mit to change a light bulb?), which is extremely sun-like.
  • For some reason, “cool” light sources attract far more insects. This, too, is likely caused by the fact that ultraviolet light is found in the cooler, bluer light waves. In reality, color has less to do with this than the wavelength, which gives us our impression of color in visual light, but what you need to know is this: “Warm” light sources attract less insects. This means that the best possible porch lighting will be in the yellow or red spectrums, with the worst staying in blues and purples.
  • LED light bulbs will almost always beat out incandescent bulbs, even if the LED is in the blue spectrum and an incandescent were in the red. Still, the best possible light source you can use for your patio or deck is an energy-efficient LED bulb that claims “warm” colors, meaning yellow, orange, and red (not white!). Granted, some (very few) insects are attracted to this type of lighting, and any insects that flies within inches of your light may still be attracted to the bulb.

Just Watch for Claims

At Electrical Gurus, our goal is to teach you how best to keep your own home illuminated, without having to rely upon the claims of light bulb and fixture manufacturers. So, if you notice a “bug-free” light bulb at the hardware store, remember that you’re probably going to pay extra for a claim that you now know to not be entirely true; all you actually need is an outdoor LED that emits as little heat as possible that produces yellow, orange, or red light. While many bug-free lights do attract less bugs than a standard light bulb, no light is entirely bug-free and the premium you pay for that extra marketing claim is not worth paying for no additional added benefit.

Contact Electrical Gurus

Whenever you have a question about the lighting inside or outside your Des Moines home, contact the most experienced local electricians at Electrical Gurus. Our team is more than happy to help you with anything from routine maintenance to major rewires, or even just some simple advice to enjoy your home’s energy in a better, more efficient way. Each member of our team is experienced, licensed, and back by one of the best support teams in the industry. Don’t let just anyone help you with your home’s energy, get the best electricians in the Des Moines area!

Reach out to us today for all of your home’s electrical services!