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