Scientists have discovered that street lights and other forms of artificial lighting could be behind decline in insect populations. Researchers from UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology conducted studies on number of insects living near sources of white light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs). researchers said LEDs are responsible for disrupting insect behaviour and for causing drop in their numbers. Lead researcher Douglas Boyes said results of his study were "eye-opening". He was surprised at extent of insect loss due to LEDs. He found 47 per cent reduction in insect populations at hedgerow test sites and 37 per cent reduction at roadside grassy areas.
Mr Boyes and his team set up LEDs at 26 roadside sites in countryside that contained either hedges or grass verges. researchers counted numbers of moth caterpillars found at these sites and compared these with insects found at unlit sites. Boyes commented on difference. He said: "We were really quite taken aback by just how stark it was." He posited that LEDs led to two drastic changes in behaviour. He said most alarming discovery was that lights stopped female insects laying eggs in lit areas. Another disruption was that lighting disturbed the feeding behaviour of insects. The caterpillars in unlit areas were heavier than those in the areas lit by LEDs.