Do insects see near infrared light? If yes, are they attracted to it at night, as they are to visible light sources?

I am building something similar to a home-made trailcam with a Raspberry Pi camera. Currently I use an incandescent light source. Obviously, it attracts lots of bugs. I was wondering if the same is going to happen when I switch to an infrared light source. This would be 850 nm or 940 nm, as these types of LEDs are commonly available.

  • $\begingroup$ Just to avoid misunderstandings: the insects are not the reason why I'll switch to an IR light source, but I'd like to know if insects are still likely to be a problem after that. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ I tried to build an IR light source for my raspberry pi and IR camera board. I used 24 NIR LEDS, and it worked, but I was dissapointed with the range. What light source were you planning to use? $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ See this. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


In general, insects are most attracted to UV light. If you switch to a light source without UV-light, the amount of insects attracted will reduce to almost zero.
It has been hypothesized that this sensitivity to UV-light is because direct light sources (sun, moon) contains more UV than objects that reflect light. In this way, it may help insects to distinguish between open spaces and shelter.
It has long been thought that insects are blind to red and IR light. However, there is evidence that some insects do see, and are attracted to, IR light, at least up till 740 nm. However, red or IR light will attract far less insects compared to ypur incandescent light source.

  • $\begingroup$ Mosquitos use it to find warm animals from afar, and then to home in on warm zones with good circulation. I slept on an inflatable water bladder that was at 35 degrees from absorbing sunlight in summer, the 1 meter long water bed type things. the mozzies did not find me. other insects don't. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 0:22

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