Friday, March 27, 2015

LED Light Bulbs That Repel Bugs

Most of us are familiar with those ultraviolet bug zappers. They're not as popular as they once were but I do still see (and hear) them around on hot summer nights here in New England. 

They operate on a basic principal - bugs (mosquitos, etc) are attracted to light in the ultraviolet and visible blue/green wavelengths. Once the bugs get inside they get electrocuted by making contact with high voltage wires surrounding the light source. Most of us have probably questioned the effectiveness, wondering if more bugs are being attracted than zapped.

A group of researchers at the University of Southern California Dornsife led by Professor Travis Longcore came up with the great idea of flipping things around. In a paper published by The Royal Society last week titled Tuning the white light spectrum of light emitting diode lamps to reduce attraction of nocturnal arthropods Longore and his group describe how to make LED bulbs that significantly reduce the amount of blue/green light and effectively repel insects. 

By mixing the right wavelengths, light can be made to still look white to humans while minimizing those attracting blue/green wavelengths, Longcore's group found that by doing this, approximately 20 percent fewer insects were attracted. Pretty cool stuff.

Longcore's group is doing additional testing and Longore is hoping they can further target specific wavelengths to repel even more of those pesky (and sometimes disease carrying) bugs away.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Interesting bulb! I wish a similar one is made to ward off disease-carrying mosquitoes in tropical countries.