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Thread: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

  1. #1

    Default Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

    I had to clean out our car last night after I just couldn't take it anymore [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img] and as I walked the distance from the front door to the car, my incandescent light was attracting every single moth and other insect from all over the state of Missouri!

    So, I was wondering...which color LED would be the most invisible to light-attracted insects? blue? royal blue? or do I need to go to the other end of the spectrum and go with red or orange? What about green or yellow since they're in the middle? I'm looking to get as much light as possible.

    Now, the other problem, is that I love my colored Arc AAA's and Infinity's in various colors but they aren't bright enough to walk around outside at night. So, I'm thinking maybe a colored Luxeon or maybe even a different color X5T...any thoughts? Which color would be the best? I'm not looking to have accurate color rendition or anything...I just want to avoid attracting as many insects/moths as possible while having as much light as possible. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

    Yellow LEDs work for me, the yellow incandescent bug light bulbs are pretty effective, but yellow LED light seems to be more bug-proof overall. They emit far less IR (heat) as well.

    Red or orange LEDs should work, stay away from the "short" end of the spectrum, like blue purple or UV. and white LEDs, if yu want to avoid getting "bugged".

    I have a couple of 100 LED yellow "bulbs" on the way to me, I'll be using them on my back porch, and will file a report as to how effective they are (or arent). Also have two 100 LED red
    "bulbs" on the way, and will also try them outdoors.

    /ed B in NH (the black fly and skeeter capital of the universe)

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

    Really a White Luxeon should do you good enough. From my experience the bugs will ignore it and fly right past the beam like they can't even see it. The IR heat from incandecents is what mainly gets em. But as far as color, they can see blue wavelenghts better than redder ones.

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    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

    I don't know if you will find a color that won't attract moths. They use the moon for navigation and try to keep it at a specific angle. When you walk by with your light, they think it's the moon, keep it at the same angle in their vision and spiral in toward it... The moon doesn't give any significant IR, so it's not IR attracting them....

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

    the only colors LED that moths ignore here is green and red.. they'll flock to just about everything else that's bright enough to light 20 feet ahead of you..

  6. #6

    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bugs?

    Humm,

    This might make a good science project for some kid. Several colors of leds placed 30-40 feet apart. Counts of the numbers of bugs in a 2 minute period within 3 feet of the light taken every hour for each color?

    Does anyone know why those bug zappers seem to use blue/uv colors? Does this attract them or repel bugs?

    GregR

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I've seen enough science based programs to figure out that bugs are attracted to ultraviolet light. Therefore the bugzappers are most effective in a color range that is near UV light. True UV light cannot be emmitted by bugzappers, or else it would be hazardous for us humans to operate them (UV exposure is BAD to us).

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    Stefan-

    Yea, that's what I figured. I posted that because I read a posting from another member, who stated that recently in a bug infested environment, his bluist/white LED light repelled bugs.

    Does this seem consistant with your experience?

    GregR

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I recall reading somewhere that if you want to light up a wasp nest at night to use a red filter, it supposedly will not disturb them ... this also seems consistent with the blue light being used to attract bugs to zappers, since it is at the opposite end of the [human] visible spectrum.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    there is another big thread in the archives about this problem, but I could not find it and I am too tired do continue. the search function is not my best friend.
    maybe Bart ...
    bernhard

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    Flashaholic* shankus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug


  12. #12

    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I read through the thread on this topic last year this appears so far to be the most informative post on topic:

    Luff
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    Re: LEDs and mosquitos?
    #60678 - 04/07/02 11:50 AM

    On topic: My zoologist friend was no help on the color issue, so I did a Google search and found:

    A decent, if limited study

    Summary:
    Red attracted 0.6% of the insects;
    Yellow 2.1%
    Green 3.8%
    White 4.2%
    Blue 26.5%
    Black (UV) 62.8%

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Zelandeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I think you'll find that those bug zappers are actually emitting a lot of UV, and the blue colour is just a secondary emission - I could be wrong though.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I seem to recall that lots of insects like moths specifically are attracted to UV light. They actually use UV to distinguish plants since some plants actually show patterns under UV light. For example, some flowers that under normal light look like a solid color show stripes or bullseye patterns. (Great science project.)

    There are some insects that seem to use IR, but lots more like mosquitoes seem to be more attracted by chemicals like CO2, phenols... Basically, exhaled breathing. It attracts them to their blood host.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I tried a simple test last night, I put 2 of my home made 36 white LED 120VAC "bulbs" in the back porch light fixtures, and it didn't take too long for small flying insects to swarm around them. However, moths did not appear, as they did around my front door incandescent lights.
    These LED lights give pretty good "full moonlight" intensity
    but definitely fall way short of the original 75 watt reflector bulbs.
    When the yellow and red LED "bulbs" arrive, I'll see how well they get ignored by the bugs.

    /ed B in NH [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/popcorn.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/sleepy.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smoker5.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/sssh.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    Very interesting. Please keep us informed.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I went camping earlier this week and took a few white LED lights. I don't think they attracted quite as many bugs as the folks with incandescent lights, but I still got my share. Going with a dim light or without a light made a noticeable difference.

    I suspect a bright enough light of any of the colors will cause some problems. My 5W McModule was bright enough to attract lots of critters which my Infinity Ultra didn't. It was quite dark when we went on a night hike and the Infinity Ultra was actually plenty of light for walking (on a flat trail) even with other people flashing lights around all the time.

    - Russ

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    For what I remember, bees are sensible to blue and UV so I think most other bugs are, too.
    Incandescence attracts bugs because it emits UV, not because of far IR. A Red L.E.D. or any other L.E.D. not emitting UV will not attract bugs.

    6000K White L.E.D.s contain very small quantities of UV but very High quantities of Blue, so WILL attract bugs.
    A green L.E.D. shouldn't attract bugs, since it has very little amounts of blue. However, I don't have a green L.E.D. to run tests...

    Anyway, I think Red is the best choice. It almost lacks completely UV and has some (very small amount) blue. It is also useful since you use it during the night and it'll preserve your night vision.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Best Outdoor LED color to avoid attracting bug

    I *finally* got the aforementioned yellow and red LED "bulbs"
    and they are not as advertised. They were claimed to have 100 LEDs, they have 70. The yellow ones are so dim as to be nearly useless, though the red ones are quite bright.
    They are nicely made, in sealed glass PAR30 size "floodlight" type bulbs, so they should be normally weatherproof.

    They were advertised as being PAR38, 100 LEDs, and I got
    only about 70%. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

    These were made (and very s-l-o-w-l-y delivered) by
    www.colorLED.com (note, these particular bulbs do not appear on the website). And, of course, they *finally* arrived when the peak of bug season is over and old demon winter is lurking just over the horizon.

    BTW, just about one minute after I installed the 2 yellow bulbs, some small weird looking bug made a pin point landing right on the center of one of them. YMMV.

    I have now installed the two red ones, they are brighter than the yellows, but then a home-made AC powered light with 16 oval HP "traffic signal" LEDS blows it away for both brightness and area coverage. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img] But then it definitely is not weatherproof, being an early prototype

    /ed B in NH

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