Why Do Bugs Like Lights?

Alex Williams
5 Min Read

Why do bugs like light? Moths and other insects seem to be naturally drawn towards lights, lamps, or even flames. So, the question is why they are so fascinated by these sources of illumination. Why are flies attracted to light, what these light-loving bugs are, and how you can prevent them from swarming your house during summers are all the things that will be covered in this article? Let’s dive in!

1. Why do Bugs like Lights?

Flies are attracted to light for many reasons, but there’s no single scientific explanation established as to why do bugs like lights. There are several theories, however, that offer a possible explanation for this phenomenon.

A. Safety

Some insects perceive bright lights as an emergency signal. If a bug feels threat or danger, it will instinctively head towards bright light sources. These insects can sense the direction of light and use it as an indicator towards safer grounds. For them, light is a trustworthy beacon that helps them escape hazardous settings.

B. Phototaxis

Some insects are often attracted to light, while others aren’t. So, what makes these light-loving bugs react differently? The answer lies in a phenomenon known as phototaxis. Even though some insects are naturally attracted to light, such as flies and moths, others have negative phototaxis meaning they’re repelled by light. This includes cockroaches or earthworms who prefer dark environments. (See Where are Leeches found?)

C. Navigation

This theory suggests that bugs use light as a navigation gauge. They can determine the direction by keeping a natural light source, such as the sun or moon on their right. However, artificial lights confuse insects, which is why you may see moths circling them. This behavior means that the insect is trying to keep the light source on one side of its body while trying to navigate its route. (See How Do You Get Chiggers Out of Your Yard?)

D. Food Source

Oftentimes, bugs with positive phototaxis confuse bright lights for a food source and instinctively head towards them. This results in the bug being confused and losing track of its path.

E. Warmth

In the winter, bugs are drawn to lights because they produce heat. This helps keep some species alive during colder months. (See 8 True Bumblebee Flying Facts)

2. Which Insects like Light?

Now that we know why do bugs like lights, let’s discover the insects that are attracted to it. The insects that go after light are not just nocturnal, they also have a good response to it. Some bugs will actively seek out the sources of illumination and stay there for an extended period. These bugs are butterflies, moths, water insects, adult flies, flying ants, flying termites, and wingless insects like ground beetles. (See How Quickly Do Moths Eat Clothes?

3. How to Prevent Bugs from Swarming House Lights?

Nocturnal insects often fly towards the lights on the porch or indoors, with their instincts confused by artificial sources that emit light rays in darkness. These bugs may swarm your house due to the abovementioned reasons. To prevent this from happening, follow the tips listed below:

  • Change Light Bulbs – To get rid of insects around your lights at night, start by changing out bulbs. Avoid using bright or fluorescent bulbs that attract bugs, go for yellowish or orange-tinted ones instead as these repel light bugs.
  • Use Incense Sticks – There are incense sticks that can make your home a safe place. The fumes from these offerings will keep flying bugs away and they smell good too. So, it’s a win-win!
  • Install Bug Zappers – This is a time and tested method to get rid of annoying light bugs once and for all. Bug zappers have strong UV rays that attract bugs towards them. Once close enough, the electrocuting system electrocutes these light-loving bugs to death.
  • Close Windows Shut – Insects can get to your lights if the window is open, so make sure you close all curtains and draw shades. (See How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Indoors)

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