Reduce Mosquito Bites With LED Lights

LED panel lights could be perfect for outdoor use as they are less likely to attract insects, according to the latest research from The University of Bristol.

Mosquitos are attracted by lights in the summer, but the risk associated with mosquito bites has become a lot more serious since the rise of Zika virus in South America.

The Zika virus is considered responsible for causing defects in babies born to women who have been infected, most notably causing microcephaly in some babies. This can cause lifelong disabilities, including cognitive disabilities.

In light of this, there has been a renewed pressure on researchers to discover ways to reduce mosquito populations, and also reduce the risk of them biting humans.

Research done in South West England saw scientists funded by the Natural Environment Research Council

and UK lighting manufacturer Integral LED put up insect traps at 18 field test sites.

Many different insects were found but most notably, flies that bite (such as midges in the genus Culicoides, some species of which are vectors of wildlife disease) were more likely to be attracted to a normal filament light than a compact fluorescent or LED lamp. In fact only 2-3 per cent went to each of the two different LED lamps.

Dr Wakefield said: “We were surprised by the number of biting flies drawn to the traditional tungsten lights. We do not know why this is but we know that some insects use thermal cues to find warm-blooded hosts in the night, so perhaps they were attracted to the heat given off by the filament bulb.”

The finding could be used to reduce human exposure to insects that transmit diseases such as Zika and malaria.