Are insects attracted to light because they percieve it as an 'exit'?

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  • Guest
Tyler asked the Naked Scientists:

I don't have a question so much as a theory I would like your opinion on. And even thought I'm not British I am speaking aloud in a British accent and it is fun!

A few episodes ago you had a caller with a question about moths being
attracted to light bulbs. In my own experience I find that not only are moths attracted to this light but an array of other flying insects as well.

My thought is that many insects live inside of dark dwellings such as a hole in a log or in a hole in the ground and when they leave their nest the opening to the outside world would have an intense light coming from it. So my thought is that the light bulbs are doing their job of producing an intense light and the insects become confused thinking that the light bulb is a opening to the outside world.

I have also found that they are not just attracted to light bulbs but many forms of intense light, such as an LED electric bar or a propane lantern. and even though the glass on the propane lantern is very hot they will still attempt to land on it almost always killing themselves in the process. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this idea.

Thanks. Love the podcast just started listening 2 days ago and is already one of my favourites. keep up the good work!

Tyler Smallman
Edwardsville, IL

What do you think?



  • Guest
See the answer to Why are insects attracted to light? from Jennifer Sutton, 6 September.