We have studied the effects of adding small amounts of In (0.2–1.2%) to GaAs grown by molecular beam epitaxy. The density of four electron traps decreases in concentration by an order of magnitude, and the peak intensities of prominent emissions in the excitonic spectra are reduced with increase in In content. Based on the higher surface migration rate of In, compared to Ga, at the growth temperatures it is apparent that the traps and the excitonic transitions are related to point defects. This agrees with earlier observations by F. Briones and D. M. Collins [J. Electron. Mater. 11, 847 (1982)] and B. J. Skromme, S. S. Bose, B. Lee, T. S. Low, T. R. Lepkowski, R‐Y. DeJule, G. E. Stillman, and J. C. M. Hwang [J. Appl. Phys. 58, 4702 (1985)].