WHY ARE BUGS ATTRACTED TO LIGHTS?

Terminix - Bugs & LightHave you ever noticed moths, for example, attracted to street lights or the exterior lights on your home in the evening? Although scientists cannot draw a conclusive reason as to why bugs are attracted to light, there’s one theory about insects being known as positively phototactic organisms. The theory is these insects have evolved to use the light reflected by the moon and stars to fly forward. Unfortunately, artificial lighting throws them into a state of confusion and draws them in causing them to flutter around the source. They fly at an angle towards the light. One problem with this theory is that there has been artificial light, in the form of fire, for thousands of years.

Another position among scientists is that, in seeing an unimpeded light source, the insects perceive the route to be clear, and fly directly towards it in an attempt to avoid hindrances. This may be the reason some bugs fly directly into the light bulbs. However, there is another school of thought that since artificial light emits relatively small amounts of UV rays the same way that flowers do, the bugs confuse the light with their food source. It was even proposed by an entomologist in the 1970s the reason male moths are attracted to candle flames is because they mistake them for female moths. It was determined that the infrared light spectrum given off by candle flames are held in common with the pheromones of female moths. The researcher that made this determination previously found that pheromones give off a weak light. This hypothesis has its holes, too. UV light is far more alluring to insects, including moths, than infrared light is. There is no reason UV light should remind moths of pheromones because they do not have the same wavelengths as infrared light.

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