Are Insects Attracted to Heat or Light?

3.9 based on 29 ratings

Updated on Dec 09, 2011

Grade Level: 5th to 8th; Type: Biology/ Entomology


This experiment determines if insects are attracted to heat or light.

Research Questions:

  • How do insects sense heat?
  • How can insects tolerate hot surfaces?
  • Can insects see light?
  • If so, how do they see light?

Ever wonder why bugs always fly around your lights? Let’s find out why in this fun experiment.


  • Electric lantern (Light)
  • Gas lantern (Heat)

Experimental Procedure

  1. Wait until nighttime.
  2. Take both the electric and gas lanterns outside.
  3. Place the lanterns about two feet apart.
  4. Monitor both lanterns and record how many insects stop at each lantern by tallying points on a two-column chart.
  5. Analyze your data and decide if insects are drawn to lights because of their heat or their light?

Terms/Concepts: Entomology, Sensillum, Heat, Surface to weight ration relating to heat


Heat tolerance: