MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What colour lights are insects more attracted to and why?

Date: Wed Jun 21 19:25:14 2000
Posted By: David Richman, Staff, Entomology
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 959595374.Zo

Actually most insects see better in UV and are thus generally attracted to 
short wave lengths toward that end of the spectrum. Insects do not see in 
the red end of the spectrum.  Roughly insects are sensitive to 2500-6000 
Angstroms, with humans sensitive to 4500-7000 Angstroms. Thus if you place 
a lamp with a UV bulb outside you will attract more insects than with a 
normal incandescent bulb. This tendency is used by insect collectors to 
trap many insects. Some insects, however, do not seem to be attracted to UV 
light, either because they are not active at night or for some other 


Berenbaum, May R. 1995. Bugs in the system.  Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 
Reading, MA.

Borror, D. J., C. A. Triplehorn, and N. F. Johnson. 1989. An introduction 
to the study of insects.  6th ed. Saunders Pub. Co., Philadelphia, PA.

There are also many other references in the literature to specific 
physiological studies on insect visual range.  I do not know if there are 
many studies on differential attraction of insects to UV.

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