Over the years, different types of pest control techniques have been used around the world with varied degrees of success. Unfortunately, pest infestation continues to be a major concern for all of us. However, a recent boom in lighting technology has opened up an unexpected avenue to effective pest management. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are being used now to create a pest-free environment.
Please note that the idea of using light for fighting insects is not new. For example, for many years, bug zappers have been used, taking advantage of flying insects’ attraction to light. Green and yellow fluorescent lights are also used commonly to control insect activity. It has also been found that reflective mulching sheets are capable of repelling whiteflies and aphids, when they are placed between two or more rows of crops.
Lights for Pest Management:
Scientists have been aware of the capability of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill microbes for more than a century. As a result, UV lights have been used extensively for food, air, and water purification. Over the last two decades, the field of LEDs has experienced tremendous progress and now we can make light do things that was unthinkable a century ago.
Unlike the gases of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, solid-state lighting using LEDs provides intricate control over colour, wavelength, and tone. Energy efficiency is the foremost reason behind the growing popularity of LEDs. However, LEDs are also gaining a lot of attention recently because of their applications in modern pest management methodologies.
What Types of Lights are Attractive to Pests?
We, human beings, are capable of seeing light wavelengths that fall within the visible spectrum between 400 and 800 nanometers. In terms of colours, this ranges between violet and red. However, our range of visibility does not include ultraviolet (UV) light at the wavelength of 300 – 390 nm. On the other hand, the range of perceivable light for many insects is solely within the wavelengths of 300-450 nm. The wavelength range of 380-420 nm is most preferable for attacting insects, which is the core range for UV-A light. One of the most important factors in terms of attracting insects is the UV-A output of a light source.
In addition to the wavelength and colour, insects also get attracted by the brightness and heat generated by the light. Lights with higher wattage generate more brightness, and have a greater drawing distance. Lights with glowing filaments generate more heat and cool lights with flowing gases create a lower amount of heat.
Important Characteristic Features of LED:
The wavelength of LED bulbs can range between UV (350 nm) and infrared (700 nm). Since light in the UV-B range around 350 nm is dangerous, it is important to make sure only quality LED lights are used that maintain all the light output in the safe UV-A range.
The pattern of emitted light depends on the angle of dispersion and can range from broadly diffuse to extremely narrow. The amount of current passing through the bulb determines the brightness of an LED. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights consume significantly less power and last much longer.
LEDs that emit significant amounts of UV-A light are new to the market.
Do LEDs Attract Insects?
Most types of LEDs generate little heat and don’t emit UV light, and are of no attraction whatsoever to insects. However, the LEDs used for pest control and management are specially manufactured so that they can produce UV-A light, and attract the insects.
How to Choose LED Light:
LED light in the UV-A range on its own has been shown to be not very attractive to insects. At Vectothor, we have recently created a breakthrough in pest management by utilising the LED technology with our exclusive Dynamic Oscillation Pulse Technology™, to provide the highest levels of insect attraction on the market. We have launched an exciting range of products using this technology. Our devices provide a significantly higher fly catch rates compared to similar products, while saving you almost 50% in energy costs and there is less land-fill as the lamps last three times longer too.