Black Lights and UV Lights Attract Insects

July 25, 2017


Bill Maynard, a botanist and former high school biology teacher, has worked for various government agencies from Alaska to South Florida and for The American Birding Association. He discovered the 87,000 acre Chico Basin Ranch to be the perfect natural laboratory to study and photograph birds, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Chico Basin Ranch Natural History Resources : BIRDING CHECKLIST // BIRDING MAP // DRAGONFLY & DAMSELFLY CHECKLIST //

Chico’s first ever Moth Night was held on July 22 at the Bell Grove.  Four setups including this one were erected in various parts of the grove including the platform where bands play.  This setup used an incandescent light source while others used ultraviolet light and black lights to pull in insects from far away. Studies have shown that black light and UV wave lengths attract more insects than incandescent light goes. The UV light seemed to attract the most insects but hundreds to thousands of insects came to investigate each white sheet. The people wearing white T-shirts made a mistake with color choice.  Moths were not the most common insect studied, but the moth species were diverse.  All thirteen participants tried their luck at night photography. Although Common Nighthawks which breed on the Chico hunt in early evening and early morning they don’t need lights to attract insects, their night vision allows them to successfully see and catch insects flying in the low light levels.