A scientist's mission: LED bulbs that don't attract bugs

You turn on the porch light to complement your relaxing evening outdoors, only to have the light serve as a beacon for every insect in the region. The same happens in the middle of the night when you've one light on and the window screen fills with bugs hoping to get inside because of it. That can be bothersome, but in the case of mosquitos and some other insects, it could also potentially be deadly if the little bugs bring diseases with them.

For this reason, Travis Longcore, a scientist and professor of spatial sciences at the University of Southern California, has researched ways to make lightbulbs less attractive to insects. His research doesn't end only in experiments, however — he's also working with Royal Philips to make some of these light bulbs a reality.

The key is to craft light bulbs that don't give off as much blue light, at least according to Longcore. Such a conclusion came from experiments done with Philips' "tunable" LED bulbs in comparison with ordinary LED and CFL bulbs. The lights were all left outside at night over soapy bug traps, and the results were interesting.

The CFL bulbs attracted the most insects, while the tunable LED light bulbs could be adjusted in such a way that they attracted about 20-percent less insects than the regular LED bulbs. By reducing the level of "blue" that light bulbs emit, one can also reduce the number of bugs that find the light attractive.

SOURCE: New York Times