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What color light makes bugs go away?

What color light makes bugs go away?

Bugs can be a nuisance, especially when they invade our homes and personal spaces. While chemicals and traps have traditionally been used to control pests, light is emerging as a promising natural deterrent. Different colors of light appear to impact various insects in unique ways. Understanding what wavelength deters specific bugs can help you choose lighting that creates an inhospitable environment for them. This guide explores how different colored lights affect common household and garden insects.

How Light Impacts Bugs

Light, including ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths we cannot see, influences insect behavior and physiology. Here’s an overview of key ways light affects bugs:

Phototaxis Innate directional movement towards or away from light.
Circadian rhythms Cycles of activity and rest governed by day/night.
Vision Ability to detect light, perceived differently by various species.
Reproduction Cues like seasonal light trigger mating, growth, and egg-laying.
Metabolism Processes like temperature regulation impacted by light exposure.

Understanding phototaxis helps predict insect movement in response to lighting. Circadian rhythms allow leveraging lights for disruption. Vision, reproduction and metabolism influence wavelength sensitivity and deterrence.

Effects of Different Colored Lights

Not all colors deter insects equally. Here’s a look at how various parts of the color spectrum impact key bugs:

Ultraviolet Light

Ultraviolet or “black light” has several effects:

Spiders Attracted to UV light, disrupting webs.
Bed bugs Lured out of hiding spots making detection and control easier.
Moths Drawn to UV, can be used in traps.
Mosquitos Actually attracted to UV light sources.

Results are mixed, with UV attracting some insects yet disrupting others. It’s not a universal deterrent but has pest-specific uses.

Blue Light

Blue wavelengths seem to repel many flying insects:

Mosquitos Avoid blue lighting, used to deter bites.
Moths Repelled by blue light traps and outdoor bulbs.
Flies Blue light reduced landings versus incandescent bulbs.

The reasons aren’t fully proven but may involve vision, circadian cycles, or metabolic processes. Overall blue light creates an unwelcoming environment for these pests to land or congregate.

Green Light

Green lighting has mixed results:

Spiders Some data shows green light discourages web-building.
Boxelder bugs Green light reduced congregating versus yellow light.
House flies No impact on landing versus white light in one study.

More research is needed but green seems promising for deterring some crawling and flying bugs. It likely mixes well with blue light for broader effect.

Yellow Light

Yellow light appears to attract some insects:

Mosquitos Drawn to yellow bulbs, increasing bites.
Moths Attracted to yellow externally and in traps.
Fungus gnats Prefer yellow sticky traps for monitoring over blue.

Longer yellow wavelengths seem to mimic flowering plants, drawing in pollinators. Avoid yellow lights to discourage congregating.

Red Light

Red light has minimal impact alone:

Mosquitos No effect on attraction versus white light.
Moths Neutral response to red light traps or bulbs.
Beetles No change in movement toward or away from red.

Red light allows insects to see while minimizing disruption of natural behaviors. It has niche uses for observing nocturnal species.

Optimal Light for Deterring Common Bugs

Here are good options for using colored light to discourage specific household and garden pests:


These nocturnal invaders dislike light. Combining wavelengths works best:

– Blue light triggers phototaxis and disrupts circadian rhythms.
– Green may minimize harborage and travel routes.
– Red allows monitoring while avoiding disruption.

Bed Bugs

UV and blue light draws them out for detection and elimination:

– Shortwave UV helps locate signs of infestation.
– Blue light monitors activity patterns and reveals harborage.


Deter web building and travel routes with:

– Green or blue light to discourage infestation.
– UV disrupts established webs for control.

Fruit Flies

Blue light limits landings and breeding:

– Avoid yellow light which can encourage activity.
– Blue bulbs in food preparation areas slow mobility.

Pantry Pests

Disrupt secretive moths, beetles, and weevils:

– Blue or green light reveals activity for monitoring.
– Avoid yellow bulbs that can attract pests.

Other Pest Deterrence Considerations

Besides color, a few other factors impact a light’s pest control power:

Wavelength Specificity

Narrow spectrum LEDs targeting key wavelengths work better than filters. Combining an array of optimal colors in one fixture provides flexibility.


Brighter light elicits stronger phototaxis and circadian effects. Adjustable intensity allows customizing deterrence.

Fixture Types

Directional bulbs concentrate illumination where needed most. Flood lights deter large areas. Compact LEDs have versatility.

Energy Efficiency

LED technology allows sustainable deterrence. Look for ENERGY STAR rated fixtures to save on costs.


Recent research and product innovations enable using light to reduce pest invasions through phototaxis, vision, and circadian rhythm disruption. The most effective colors depend on target species. Blue deters flying insects, while green limits spiders and crawlers. Avoid yellow light which often attracts pests. Carefully selected lighting eliminates the need for hazardous chemical treatments creating a safer, more sustainable pest control solution.