LED Streetlights Hurting Insect Population – There is an Easy Solution
September 23, 2021
Lighting and bugs always seemed to go hand in hand considering most are attracted to light. Douglas Boyes of UKCEH spent time sampling for caterpillars along roadsides at lit and unlit sites in the Thames Valley over the past three years trying to see how lighting has impacted insect populations.
His study showed that the population of moth caterpillars was 52% lower in LED lit areas than unlit areas and 41% lower in sodium lighting. “The rapidly increasing prevalence of LED lights, which are often much brighter as they are so energy-efficient and cheap to run, is likely to increase the negative impacts of light pollution on insects,” said Boyes. “This is expected to have knock-on effects on other species, including predatory insects, hedgehogs, and songbirds, which need to find hundreds of caterpillars a day to feed themselves and their young.”
For those who love our moth population, there is hope. LED light are easier to control than sodium lights for example, through dimming and filters. One way to help the population is to implement a control system that allows the street lamps to dim on roads with less traffic that will brighten when a car approaches. Also, LEDs that have a warmer tone can help solve this issue as well.