Have you ever tried to relax in an open environment as it starts to get dark and there is a source of light close by? Chances are that, as soon as it gets dark, the source of light gets surrounded by insects that begin to dance around it. The nocturnal insects could be noticed around the source of light, all night long, until in the morning, when they all disappear, only to resurface in the evening.
Based on this, you might have been wondering the fascination between bugs and light as well as why the bugs are attracted to light. If you have been wondering why are bugs attracted to light, here are 4 possible reasons.
Reason 1: Movement
A significant number of bugs, that are active in the night, often move around with the aid of the moon. They are able to move by maintaining an angle to the moon. Due to the distance of the moon, the angle remains the same as they move around.
When there is an artificial light, however, they get confused by the light. While trying to use the light to navigate, they try to maintain an angle to the light. The implication is that they continue to move in circles around the light over and over again. This could be blamed on the fact that their evolution is developing much slower, compared to the innovation of men.
When moving with the aid of the moon, they are able to maintain a straight course and a flight path that is steady, with the help of the moon. Since the artificial source of light is mostly brighter than the moon, with the light shining towards different directions around the source of source of light, they try to move around, with the aid of the brighter artificial light.
The multi-directional radiation of light is responsible for their spiral dance without end around the source of light when they are trying to move on a straight path. Another reason why some other bugs move around the light is the fact that the presence of bright light, is a sign for them to know that the path is actually clear.
It is common to see bugs trapped in nets with tiny holes making a continuous attempt to move, but can’t because of the net. This is because they are seeing the light, but cannot continue to move. This also applies to sources of light, as the insects interpret the source of the light as lack of obstruction and then fly towards the light.
Reason 2: Heat
There are a number of bugs that are attracted to heat. Since most sources of artificial lights also produce some quantity of heat, such bugs get attracted to heat emanating from the light source and therefore, enjoy flying around the light source or resting on it.
Reason 3: Source of Food
Food is very important and every living thing is always on a daily quest of getting what they will eat for survival. This also applies to bugs, whose major source of food is from flowers.
There are theories that a lot of flowers reflect ultraviolet lights. Since little quantities of ultraviolet lights are also emitted by artificial lights, some bugs get attracted to the source of light, thinking that it is a flower, which for them is a source of food.
Generally, ultraviolet light attracts bug more, compared to other sources of light with a longer wavelength. In line with this, the quest for food has been postulated as one of the major reasons why bugs tend to be attracted to light and are always found around artificial sources of light.
Reason 4: Reproduction
Another theory that has been put forward as the reason why some bugs, especially moths, are attracted to artificial sources of light is a reproduction and the need to mate. Of course, every animal is wired to recognize potential mating opportunities, for the sustenance of their species.
It is believed that the pheromones of female moths often produce some frequency of light when they are ready to mate, which aids their male counterparts in locating them. Their male counterparts, however, often mistake infrared candle flames spectrum to be the same as this source of light.
Male moths, therefore, fly towards candle flames and try to mate with the flames. They end up getting killed by the intense heat from the flame in most cases. The theory has, however, been seriously criticized, considering that moths are more attracted to ultraviolet lights than infrared or other types of light.