Insects Quotes (62 quotes)
Why Are Bugs Attracted to Light?
Why Are Moths Drawn to Artificial Lights?
Why do certain insects carry out this irritating, yet slightly entertaining, behavior that often results in their rapid demise? There are a few theories surrounding this topic which we will look into, but so far it seems that no one is in agreement on the subject. Negatively phototactic organisms, on the other hand, move away from light, such as cockroaches that scuttle into a dark corner when you switch the light on. Before the introduction of artificial lights, nocturnal insects such as most moths evolved to use natural light sources such as the moon or stars in order to navigate. These insects navigate by keeping themselves aligned at a certain angle relative to a light source. This is because the angle to the light source changes as the insect passes the source, so in an attempt to keep themselves aligned the insect ends up flying round in circles.
All rights reserved. Often, creatures entranced in such a glow get eaten by predators or overheat. Like the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet, the story of the lamp and moth is one of fatal attraction. Being primarily nocturnal creatures, moths evolved to travel by the glimmer of the moon, by a method called transverse orientation. Indeed, the day that Thomas Edison patented the lightbulb—January 27, , which paved the way for global distribution of electric illumination—was a dark day in moth history.
This research has helped uncover LED technology as an insect attractant far superior to conventional light sources. There are several theories which offer a possible explanation, as outlined below:. For some insects, a bright light source may be seen as an emergency beacon. When in doubt, these insects instinctively head towards light sources, which are generally positioned on higher ground than the hazardous environment they are currently in. Light, for some insects, act as a familiar safety signal; just as air bubbles lead the way to the surface of the water for some underwater creatures.
Why exactly, nobody can tell you yet. For some, it may be because of their navigation system, with them confusing artificial lights for the moon, but not all insects.
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How Artificial Lights Affect Insect Navigation at Night
Ahh… summer! There's nothing quite like the warm weather to get you outdoors. The days are longer, so you can stay outside and play until almost bedtime. When the Sun finally sets, it's the perfect time to sit out on the porch to enjoy the cool breeze as the temperature begins to drop. If you're like many kids, you might want to turn on the porch light and grab a book to read.
The old saying "like a moth to a flame" describes someone with an unswerving yet self-destructive attraction. Where people are concerned, the underlying motivation for such behavior can usually be identified, whether it's greed, lust or the thrill of the chase. Not so with moths. There are a handful of theories as to why the insects make their suicidal nosedives toward burning candles and artificial lights. But, perhaps surprisingly, that's all they are — guesses.
Turn on your porch light after sunset, and you will be treated to an aerial display by dozens, if not hundreds, of bugs. Artificial lights attract moths, flies , crane flies, mayflies , beetles , and all sorts of other insects. You may even find frogs and other insect predators hanging around your porch at night, taking advantage of the easy pickings. Why are insects attracted to lights, and why do they keep circling around and around like that? Unfortunately for the insects, their attraction to artificial light is a cruel trick caused by our innovation moving faster than their evolution. Night flying insects evolved to navigate by the light of the moon.