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Publication - Dr Andy Wakefield

    Experimentally comparing the attractiveness of domestic lights to insects

    Do LEDs attract fewer insects than conventional light types?


    Wakefield, A, Broyles, MEJ, Stone, E, Jones, G & Harris, S, 2016, ‘Experimentally comparing the attractiveness of domestic lights to insects: Do LEDs attract fewer insects than conventional light types?’. Ecology and Evolution, vol 6., pp. 8028-8036


    LED lighting is predicted to consttute 70% of the outdoor and residential lighting markets by 2020. While the use of LEDs promotes energy and cost savings relative to traditional lighting technologies, little is known about the effects these broad-spectrum “white” lights will have on wildlife, human health, animal welfare, and disease transmission. We conducted feld experiments to compare the relative attracveness of four commercially available “domestic” lights, one traditional (tungsten filament) and three modern (compact fluorescent, “cool-white” LED and “warm-white” LED), to aerial insects, particularly Diptera. We found that LEDs attracted significantly fewer insects than other light sources, but found no significant difference in attraction between the “cool-” and “warm-white” LEDs. Fewer flies were attracted to LEDs than alternate light sources, including fewer Culicoides midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Use of LEDs has the potential to mitigate disturbances to wildlife and occurrences of insect-borne diseases relative to competing lighting technologies. However, we discuss the risks associated with broad-spectrum lighting and net increases in lighting resulting from reduced costs of LED technology.

    Full details in the University publications repository