Scientists at the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology have found that LED street lights reduce insect numbers.
Previously, scientists assumed that artificial lighting negatively affects the insect population, but it was not known exactly how strong this harm was.
In a new study, the authors compared 26 road patches that had a hedge or grass, illuminated by a lantern, and a similar number of patches without light. During the study of insects in these areas, the authors preferred caterpillars, which usually remain close to the place where they hatched until they learn to fly.
As a result, it was found that the insect population decreased by 47% in hedges and by 37% in roadside lawns illuminated by lanterns. The caterpillars of the moth were chosen as the object of the study.
The reason is that females, most likely, do not leave offspring in such places.
Douglas Boyes, lead author of the article
Also, lighting changes the feeding behavior of caterpillars: they begin to eat more. According to the authors, due to the unusual lighting, the insects did not know how to behave and began to eat more in order to accelerate development.
The biologists found that the disturbance was most pronounced in areas illuminated by LED lamps, as opposed to high-pressure sodium lamps or older low-pressure sodium lamps, which emit a yellow-orange glow less like sunlight.