Why are bugs attracted to lights, are they looking for warmth? And then why do they stay at the light source till they die? Why don’t they figure out there’s no nourishment here and move on?

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Why are bugs attracted to lights, are they looking for warmth? And then why do they stay at the light source till they die? Why don’t they figure out there’s no nourishment here and move on?

In:

Bugs aren’t attracted to lights. Rather they don’t understand that they are lights to begin with: they think those lights are the sun.

Bugs use the sun to nagivate. But when the light source you think is the sun (a giant ball of plasma millions of miles away) is instead a lightbulb (a tiny bulb a few feet away) that will screw up your navigation.

Nocturnal bugs use light to navigate. Before artificial light sources were introduced, the Moon was the brightest light they could navigate by. Since the Moon is very far away, they were able to keep a relatively stable flight path horizontal to the ground. “Just keep that light above me and I am good to go!”.

When they get sucked into an artificial light source, and start flying around it like crazy, they are trying to keep the light source above them where it should be and get trapped flying around the light.

We still don’t know exactly why bugs are attracted to light. Some say it’s to navigate, as anything producing a lot of light (The sun or moon, depending on the time of day) must indicate a clear path. Others say that flowers reflect UV light, and insects are drawn to sources of UV light to find nectar.

Other insects like cockroaches avoid light, as that would indicate that they’re out in the open where it’s dangerous.