According to a study done by Mike & Teresa Justice, two behavioral ecologists with PhDs from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, the type and color of outdoor bulbs you use can lower the amount of insects attracted to your home. Their tests show that yellow/orange hue outdoor LEDs attract the fewest amount of insects, even outperforming so-called outdoor bug lights.
The team of ecologists spent an entire summer testing different light types. Every night the team would set up a bug trap with a single bulb inside. They would rotate the type of bulb every night. They also took precautions to make sure no bulb being tested got more than its share of moonlight. Since the moon is predictable, this was easy to plan for. They also had to get crafty with scheduling of different bulbs to make of for weather changes.
Over the course of the summer of testing, the light trap caught a total of 8887 bugs. Some lights attracted way more insects than others. Their test showed that incandescent bulbs had the highest attraction rate, followed by CFL, Halogen, LEDs with cool temperature hue, standard “bug lights”, and last warm colored or yellow/orange hue LEDs.
Shocking to the two was the result of the “bug lights”. “The only thing we could hypothesize in advance is that the yellow ‘bug’ light would catch the fewest insects,” said Justice. “We were very surprised when not only was that not the case, but the yellow bulb attracted a lot of earwigs, which can be a household pest.”
In the end, when choosing your outdoor lighting, go with a warm yellow/orange LED bulb. If you are currently using incandescent, halogen or CFL bulbs you will see a lower electric bill by switching to LEDs and your next evening on the porch or patio may be much more enjoyable.