bug lights, do they work

Bug Lights – Do They Work?

An outdoor barbecue is going to lure insects into your yard. Aside from eating your hamburger in a dark void, there’s not much you can do that will totally eradicate all insects from your lawn, but will using bug lights help?

The smoky aromas, good music and friendly laughter from your outdoor BBQ may have drawn the neighbors in, but chances are good that it also drew in a few unwanted guests. Mosquitos. Flies. Bees. They love the sweet lure of barbecue sauce, along with one of the necessary ingredients for an evening party — Light.

You may have seen yellow “bug lights” in your department store and wondered if they actually worked or if they were just another marketing gimmick.

The short answer is, while they aren’t going to make your lawn completely bug-free, they can effectively reduce the amount of frequent fliers.

But while most people agree that they do work, there are a lot of different ideas on the science behind why bug lights work.

Bug Zappers vs. Bug Lights

Bug Zapper Don’t confuse bug lights with bug zappers. Yellow bug lights won’t give you the same satisfying “POP!” that you get from a bug zapper (which is really just an electrified mesh wrapped around a light bulb as the “bait.”) In fact, the purpose of a bug light is not to kill the bug, but to keep it away altogether.

Why do bug lights work?

Insects are attracted to several things like smells, carbon dioxide …. and light. But here’s where it gets a little blurry. There seem to be several different theories as to why insects react to specific kinds of light. Some of the theories I turned up:

  • Bugs think white light is the moon and navigate towards it.
  • Bugs think yellow light is the sun and stay away.
  • Bugs can’t see yellow.
  • Bugs can’t see ultraviolet light.
  • And my personal favorite – The light blinds the bugs and they run into it.

Here’s what we do know: Certain color wavelengths, like red and yellow, are harder for some insects to see, so it’s reasonable to assume that the bugs just aren’t seeing the bug light. Most insects see ultraviolet and blue wavelengths clearer, which is why you see black lights used as lures in bug zappers.

Myth: Previously, it was thought that LED bulbs wouldn’t attract insects because they didn’t produce ultraviolet light. While it’s true that LEDs do seem to attract less bugs an incandescent bulb, you won’t be rid of them completely.


Whatever reason you subscribe to, yes, yellow bug lights do seem to help in the quest to cut down on flying insects. For the most successful bug-free zone however, you’re going to have to resort to several different methods. Next week, I’ll share some uncommon ways that I’ve learned to repel the grilling enthusiasts arch enemies: Mosquitos, Bees and Flies.

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Vintage Edison Light Bulbs

The Edison Light Bulb: The ‘Smart Bulb’ of the 1800’s

Vintage Edison Light BulbsLast week we talked about the energy-efficient, color-changing, programmable, high-tech smart bulb that’s trending in 2015 lighting technology. But in the late 1800’s it was the Edison bulb that transfixed the world as one of the most technologically advanced inventions of its time. In a practical sense, the electric bulb was the ‘smart technology’ of the 1800’s. Fast-forward a century, and the term Edison bulb holds an entirely new meaning. (more…)

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smart light bulb

CES 2015: Smart Lighting ‘Shines’ in Home Automation

smart light bulb
Should I invest in smart lighting?

Trends in lighting technology keep getting smarter. In fact, if the LED Light Bulb were a soccer mom, she’d have a bumper sticker that read “My Light Bulb is Smarter than Your Light Bulb.” Smart lighting systems are hot at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, an annual event that showcases the most innovative gizmos of the year. But for all the hype, what exactly do they do? Without a smart bulb, am I less intelligent?

What Makes a Light Bulb Smart?

Like every good parent, smart light bulb manufacturers have different ideas about what makes their product smart. As the trend starts to explode, new variations of the smart bulb are cropping up everywhere in an attempt to out-perform their predecessors. Though each smart bulb has its own set of features, I’ve put together a list of some popular characteristics that seem to make a smart bulb so much “brighter” than its peers (sorry, couldn’t resist): (more…)

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Apartment Lighting Project: Antique Light Bulb

Antique Light Bulbs

In my apartment, there is a simple pendant light fixture hovering over the kitchen sink and bar. It has a frosted glass shade and an exposed light bulb. There’s nothing offensive about it – WHEN it’s not turned on. Generally, the light stays off. Over the months, I’ve tried different light bulbs. At one point I even had a compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb surrounded by a light-diffusing piece of parchment paper held to the pendant with one of those green rubber bands from Whole Foods. (I liked it. My wife? Not so much.) Finally, after writing a blog piece on antique light bulbs, I had an ah-ha moment.


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9 Inspiring Photos of Antique Light Bulbs

One of the most popular lighting trends of the past decade has been the use of vintage-looking light bulbs, often referred to as antique or “edison” light bulbs. These are the light bulbs that generally have little light output, so you can look directly at them without blinding yourself. These decorative light bulbs have been used often in restaurants, bars, and hotels, but they have also become popular for home use. Here are nine photos to inspire you as you think of ways you could use antique light bulbs to enhance the lighting design in your space.

1. Totally Tubular

via etsy.com
via etsy.com


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New LED Light Bulb Mimics Sunset to Improve Sleep


There’s a new LED light bulb in town. And it has been designed to help you fall asleep. Here’s the premise: Before we had electric lights, we adapted our sleep patterns to the rising and setting of the sun. But these days, many of us have completely lost touch with the natural rhythms of light and darkness. We stay up until the wee hours, our faces washed in the light of a computer or tablet screen, our eyes glazed over. We wake up to alarms, feeling perpetually like we haven’t gotten enough sleep. Sound familiar?


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Light Bulb Moments in Light Bulb History: The Carbon Arc Lamp

We were born into a world of electric illumination. Incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, halogen, xenon, LEDs. It glows from lamps and televisions, twinkles from nightlights, puts on a show when you rush past it in tunnels, speckles a cityscape at night. We take it for granted, generally speaking. It’s tough to imagine a world in which electric light does not exist. But, when you think about it, electric lamps have only been the norm for a tiny,TINY percentage of the history of human life.


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