What Is A Bug Light - Using Bug Light Bulbs In The Garden

Insects Surrounding A Bug Light In The Dark
(Image credit: sutlafk)

As winter winds down, you’re probably dreaming about the warmer months in the garden. Spring is just around the corner and then it will be summer, the chance to spend evenings outside once again. It’s easy to forget in the dead of winter, that bugs tend to wreck that party. Bug light bulbs may be the answer and you don’t have to zap them, just repel them

What is a Bug Light? 

You’ll find bulbs advertised as bug lights in hardware and garden stores. They claim to be able to prevent those annoying clusters of flying insects around your patio lights on summer nights. This isn’t the same as a bug zapper, which kills insects indiscriminately. 

A yellow bug light is simply a yellow bulb. Instead of giving off white light, it creates a warm yellow glow. White light is a mixture of all colors of light on the visible spectrum. Yellow is just one part of the spectrum. 

Many types of bugs are attracted to light, which you know from spending any time outside in the evening. This is called positive phototaxis. Not all insects are drawn to light, like moths. Some avoid it. Not all experts agree on exactly why so many species go to light. 

It may be that artificial light interferes with their navigation. In the absence of artificial light, these bugs navigate using natural light from the moon. Another idea is that light indicates a clear pathway free of obstacles. Or it could be that some insects are drawn to the small amount of UV light in bulbs, a type of light they see reflected by flowers during the day. 

Do Bug Lights Work? 

Does a yellow light that repels bugs really work? Yes and no. You probably will find that you get fewer insects around the light, but it won’t repel all types of bugs. It’s not a perfect solution, but a yellow bulb is inexpensive, so it may be worth a try. 

Add other measures, like citronella candles, and you could have a good solution to summer evening bug infestations. It’s also a good idea to keep your yard and patio clean, especially of standing water. This will prevent a lot of insect growth in the area.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.