U.S. Researcher Partners Up with Philips to Develop LED Bulbs that Attract Less Bugs

Travis Longcore, a professor of spatial sciences at the University of Southern California has partnered up with Philips to develop LED bulbs that are less attractive to insects, reported New York Times recently.

Philips LED bulbs mixed with red, blue, green and white were tuned to different colors and tested against LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs. The light bulbs were suspended above a trap made of soapy water in the Santa Monica Mountains at night.

According to Longcore’s study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B in March, fluorescents attracts the most bugs, while tunable LEDs attracted about 20% less than standard LEDs after adjustments.

Older and cheaper LED bulbs made by putting phosphor coating on a blue diode are more attractive to mosquitoes, sandflies and the kissing bugs that transmit malaria, leishmaniasis, Chagas and other diseases, said Longcore. Fluorescents that emit violet and ultraviolet light are even more attractive to these insects.

Many people find the LED’s bluish cold white rather unflattering, and the electronics industry is in the process of developing warmer white LED bulbs that are more like incandescent.

Longcore is aiming to develop an energy-efficient LED bulb that emits a comfortable color temperature to reduce insect attraction, and thus solving all of these problems.

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