Bug Bait

When this couple wondered how to fend off bugs, a light bulb went on. Literally!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Meet husband-and-wife ecologists Michael and Teresa Justice. They made their home ground zero for an experiment on attracting insects. Every night they used a different type of light bulb in an outdoor insect trap. Six bulb types in all: Incandescent, compact fluorescent, warm and cool LEDs, halogen, and the yellow type marketed as “bug lights.” Every morning they checked to see what insects had been attracted.

They did the test the entire summer, so each bulb type was used multiple times. They also made sure the moon’s phase was consistent for each type. By summer’s end, they had trapped close to nine-thousand bugs. And?

Most attractive to bugs? Incandescents and compact fluorescents. Least attractive? Warm color LEDs.

Bugs just don’t like them.

Sure, they cost an arm and leg, just not six legs. If you know what I mean.