Light Pollution

Coastal Light Pollution © Grace Miller @gracemiller_photography

Most of the animals on earth are invertebrates, but did you know two-thirds of invertebrates are partially or wholly nocturnal – that means most are active at times when we are all asleep!

Because we don’t often see and interact with most of these species, some of their needs are often overlooked. However, many of their jobs are the same as the daytime species, pollinating, recycling nutrients, carrying out natural pest control and providing food for other animals.

Darkness, night flowering plants and safe spaces for nocturnal species to hide out in the daytime are all things we should be including into our efforts to restore and protect invertebrate populations.

Will you pledge to close your curtains and blinds when you turn on your indoor lights, to keep the light inside and say Curtains for Light Pollution?

Pledge here

Most of the earth is affected by light pollution. 80% of the world’s population live under skyglow and almost everyone in the UK cannot experience a natural night sky from where they live.

The evidence of the impacts of light pollution on species and ecosystems has grown and strengthened. Increased Artificial Light at Night, known as ALAN, is directly linked to measurable negative impacts on energy consumption, human health, and wildlife such as bats, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and plants. Unnecessary artificial light increases financial costs and contributes to greenhouse emissions.

The problem has gone unchecked for so long, research suggests global levels of light pollution have increased 10% every year since 2011 and continue to do so.

The Night Lights of Europe (as seen from space) by woodley wonder works is licensed under CC BY 2.0 The Night Lights of Europe (as seen from space) by woodley wonder works is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Artificial light and invertebrates

Everyone is familiar with insects flying around a light at night. But unfortunately, this attraction to light can have fatal consequences for the insects involved. Exhaustion, increased predation, and a disrupted ability to navigate are just some of the reasons why up to a third of insects attracted to lights die.

Attraction to light isn’t the only consequence of light pollution. Artificial light is known to have numerous direct and indirect effects on our insect populations affecting almost every aspect of their lives. Impacts are seen in mating, feeding, navigating, development and even their ability to hatch at the correct time.

Two-thirds of invertebrates are partially or wholly nocturnal, and even diurnal species can be impacted by the loss of their night. The situation is so serious that light pollution is reducing the nocturnal pollinator visits to flowers by 62% in some areas.

Long exposure of insect at a street lamp in Meiningen - Germany by Robert Emmerich Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • Caterpillar populations declined by 52% in areas with streetlights.
  • Glow-worm populations are reduced in artificially lit areas and their ability to communicate by ‘glowing’ is reduced.
  • Dung Beetles navigate using the moon and stars. Under light-polluted skies, they become disoriented and unable to find their way.

It’s not just insects, almost every species studied shows an impact when exposed to artificial light.

 Impacts Beyond Invertebrates   Society and Human Health  Curtains for Light Pollution

Nurture the Night Shift

We are calling on everyone to help us Nurture the Night Shift, to support nocturnal wildlife going about their lives playing vital roles in our ecosystems.

The nature of light pollution presents a unique solution. It is a form of pollution that can be solved, quite literally, with the flick of a switch. Once a light has been turned off, that pollution no longer exists – unlike issues such as plastics, pesticides, air pollution or climate change, which, despite turning off the source, will continue to cause harm until completely removed.

We have developed some new resources to help you engage with and protect nocturnal wildlife in your garden. Even small changes can make a big difference to our smallest living things!

(Don’t for get to tag us and use #NurtureTheNightShift if you are sharing your actions on social media)


Why not go Bug-gazing and see what species are active in your garden when the sun goes down?

This simple activity is fun for all the family and can be done using common household items.

 Go Bug-gazing

If you want to learn more about nocturnal bugs we would recommend borrowing or buying a field guide, here are some useful guides:


In the Night Garden

The best environments for bugs are those that are closest to their natural habitats, this includes areas free from artificial light at night. In many cases, the best thing you can do is leave nature to it!

It’s important to consider some of the needs for our night-time bugs as well as those we are used to seeing in the daytime. Simple actions such as shutting curtains and blinds when you turn the lights on inside can help prevent bugs from being distracted from their jobs finding and pollinating night flowering plants.

Check out our guide for more ideas for a thriving night garden.

 In the Night Garden


Bug-friendly Lighting

Bugs have a very different set of needs to people when it comes to light. What many people may see as beauty when lighting up a tree or hedge in a garden or park, a moth may perceive as 24-hour daylight and may not be able to function naturally.

A single light on a tree or river could prevent generations of bugs from emerging, with drastic knock-on consequences for ecosystems. With bug numbers falling at alarming rates, we must reduce all man-made pressures on them.

Small changes for us can mean huge differences to our smallest creatures and any improvement in current lighting is welcomed.

 Bug-friendly Lighting


Curtains for Light Pollution

Every time we turn on a light, we risk polluting the natural world. But what if helping to protect nature was as simple as drawing the curtains or lowering a blind?

This simple action, that many of us already carry out every day, will help reduce light pollution and the impact it has on nature.

Will you join us in keeping the light inside?

Pledge here

Help us to stop the extinction of invertebrate species

Become a member

Join a community of invertebrate champions and access exclusive member benefits from just £3 a month, all whilst supporting our vital conservation work.


Donate to support us

Every contribution helps us to save the small things that run the planet by restoring vital habitats and rebuilding strong invertebrate populations in the UK.

Make a donation today

Engage with our work

Stay up to date with our work and help spread the word by following us on our socials and signing up to our monthly BugBytes email newsletter.