As I write this product feature, there is a fly the size of a golf ball hanging around my window, trying to get out and enjoy its freedom in the sunlight. But that raises a question: why are bugs attracted to the brightest, whitest lights in an area? Our office has numerous overhead fluorescent lights that the fly could hang around, but it insists on going after the window in my office, taking the occasional break from to fly past my ear or right in front of my face.
The simple answer is that most insects respond to light in different ways than humans. Bugs can see light in the blue-to-ultraviolet end of the spectrum better than they can see light in redder, yellower end of the visible light spectrum. With the noonday sun having a color temperature of over 5,000K, that explains why my new pet fly is more attracted to the window than to the fluorescent tube lights, which have a color temperature of 4,100K or lower.
Light Bulbs to Keep Away Bugs
So can we use this to our advantage and keep bugs away, both indoors and outdoors? Yes, with a simple yellow bug light.
Bug lights come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, from incandescents at 25 to 100 watts, to yellow flood lights, to our current variation, a little 13 watt spiral CFL bug light. This one, manufactured by Standard, is small in size, energy efficient, and will help keep bugs away.
The Standard CF13/Y/BG/SPIRALE/E26/STD uses special yellow phosphors on the bulb that have been designed for one purpose: to keep bugs away. It is best used in outdoor patio or garden fixtures where people will congregate, as the yellow light does not attract as many insects as a regular incandescent, halogen, or CFL light bulb. The bug light can also be used as a general service bulb, according to the manufacturer.
How Do They Work?
The yellow finish of the bug light keeps the light output on the yellow end of the visible light spectrum, where many insects have a hard time seeing. While this will not actively repel bugs, it makes it more difficult for them to see and be attracted to the light. Other things being equal, you can enjoy longer periods of time outdoors at night with fewer bugs flying around.
Yellow Light? Ugly!
While it may seem like plugging in a yellow light bulb would produce a dim, ugly light, this is not the case. The light from the Standard CFL bulb is almost identical to the light from a standard incandescent, which also operates at a warm color temperature of 2,700K. The only difference is that the yellow finish on the bug light also filters some of the higher-spectrum blue and ultraviolet light that attract bugs.
Where Can I Find Out More?
We’ve written quite a big about bug lights all summer. You can find out how bug lights work, how bug zappers (a completely different way of using light to deal with insects) work, and compare bug lights to bug zappers.
- Fits in common medium base (E26) light sockets
- Uses only 13 watts
- Beautiful yellow finish keeps bugs at bay
- Use as a buglight or for general service purposes
- Lasts 10,000 so you can enjoy many bug-free nights outdoors
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