Moths are the last pests you want to share on your porch and other outdoor areas. These insects naturally enjoy coming around outdoor lights for heat, especially at night.
Are there any tricks to deter these unwanted insects from outdoor lights? Absolutely, yes! This article will guide you through some effective ways to do that.
Moths, like many other insects, love to fly around outdoor lights. They are attracted to bright white lights and the heat they release. Finding a swarm of these unwanted insects flying around your door is irritating.
It makes porches and other outdoor sitting areas a no-go area at night. Thankfully, there are reliable techniques you can try to stop these insects from hanging around your lights. These include:
- Changing your outdoor lights
- Planting moth-repellant plants.
- Spraying insect repellants
These are a few, and we discussed more options in the article. However, for better results, you may have to combine different strategies.
Below, we will teach you 13 DIY-friendly strategies to keep moths away from lights. Read the options carefully and deploy those you feel will work best for you.
13 Ways To Keep Moths Away From Lights
Moths need lights to move around, and moonlight helps them properly identify their surroundings. However, these insects struggle to adjust to artificial lighting conditions and struggle in human environments.
They often mistake artificial lights for the moon and circle around them instead of hunting for food or laying eggs. So, making your outdoor lights unattractive to these insects can help discourage them from coming around.
Here are some ways you can keep moths away from lights:
1. Switch Your Old Bulbs for an Insect-Repelling One
Moths, by nature, are attracted to bright white lights and the heat they release. The best strategy to deter these insects is to make outdoor lights less attractive.
Switching the light bulbs on your background or porch is one of the cheapest ways to keep moths away. Stop using incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen bulbs because they emit UV light that moths use to move around.
Instead, opt for LED lightbulbs that last longer and are less appealing to bugs. You can even find special anti-bug bulbs in any hardware store or online marketplace.
These bulbs have a signature yellow tint that makes them difficult for moths to spot. LED bulbs also release less heat and cost less than regular bulbs.
You can apply some drops of citronella oil to these bulbs in the daytime. When you turn them on at night, the electric current heats them and creates a two-factor moth repellant.
However, if you can not change all your light bulbs, you can line them with yellow cellophane. This will generate the same results as a yellow bulb.
2. Switch Off Lights When Not in Use
Since the glow and heat from outdoor lightbulbs attract moths, turn them off to keep these unwanted insects away. Whenever you do not need to use these lights, they don’t need to stay on.
However, this is not a permanent solution to the problem. Most people love to leave their outdoor lights on overnight for many reasons. If you are one, it is best to wait till it is dark outside before turning the lights on.
Alternatively, you can fix a sensor or timer for your outdoor lights. This way, they can activate once dark and go off at dawn.
3. Try Aromatic/Scented Candles
Aromatic candles can serve two purposes – drive moths away and light up your outdoor area. So, this is a win-win situation for you.
A popular option is citronella candles which are known for keeping many bug species away. Alternatively, you can use any scented candle with peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, or eucalyptus flavors or extracts.
Their powerful scent overwhelms moth senses and will deter them from returning. Line these candles around the offending porch light to direct its focus for better results.
However, it is advisable to light these candles with caution. While these candles may be attractive to look at, with calming scents, they can pose a fire hazard.
As such, using scented candles is not a long-term strategy for keeping moths away from your outdoor lights. Apart from being expensive to maintain, this method will not work well on a wide porch or windy night.
We advise you to use them only if you intend to sit on your porch for a while. Even at that, ensure the candles are in jars and far from plants, curtains, upholstery, and other flammable materials.
Alternatively, you can set a tiki torch filled with citronella oil around your building. Light this torch at night to keep moths away from your outdoor lights.
4. Plant Moth-Repellent Plants Outdoors
Growing certain plants around your house can help control your moth population. The scents arising from some common plants act as natural repellents for bugs like mosquitoes and moths.
Plant a small bush near your porch and backyard if you don’t want to invest in or maintain a full garden. Bug-repelling plants you can grow around your house are basil, sage, mint, rosemary, bay leaf, and thyme.
Others include citronella grass, lemon balm, peppermint, and lavender. You can grow these small pots, water them once or twice weekly and place them in the direction of sunlight.
Apart from driving moths away from lights, you get a fresh stash of herbs for your kitchen.
5. Treat Your Surrounding for Bugs
Although moths are generally attracted to lights, seeing them constantly around your home may signify a possible infestation.
So, to reduce their population, treating your surroundings for an infestation is also advisable beyond deterring them from outdoor lights.
The choice of treatment depends on the moth species infesting your building. These species include gypsy and miller moths and forest tent caterpillars that later grow into moths.
Moths can destroy useful vegetation, even at their larva stage, so this is a situation you must treat urgently. Visible signs of moth infestation include seeing large brown patches of grass on your lawn.
Once you notice this or see moths flying around at dusk, apply insecticide to your lawn to drive them away. Alternatively, contact a local pest control agency to properly identify the moth species invading your house and eliminate them.
6. Clean Your House Regularly
Cleaning your house is another way to discourage moths from coming around lights. Sweep your porch, clean up spills, and pick up fallen fruits from garden trees.
Moths love sweet-smelling scents like ripening fruits and the nectar from blooming flowers. You can avoid planting these sweet-smelling flowers entirely to deter them.
But, when cleaning your surroundings, especially your porch, use a cleaning solution with vinegar as an active agent. Vinegar helps to repel ants and other bugs, and you can create a DIY mixture to wipe surfaces down.
Mix equal measurements of water with vinegar in a spray bottle, and shake. You can use this mixture to clean surfaces, spray on your porch, or any other area where moths swarm.
7. Spray Insect Repellants
Insect repellants, chemical or homemade, are another effective way to keep moths away from your outdoor lights. You can make an effective moth spray using essential oils.
Moths cannot stand the smell of essential oils like citronella, rosemary, clove, thyme, mint, and more. So, mix any of these with soapy water and spray around your backyard and porch.
Be careful not to spray this liquid solution on electric wiring. The only drawback with this method is it requires constant reapplication.
But spraying it at least twice daily is enough to drive these unwelcomed winged insects away.
8. Install a Screen on Your Porch
Screens made from tightly-woven materials can limit the access moths have to your outdoor lights. This technique involves fitting your outdoor area, like your porch, with a screen.
This screen creates a barrier, making it impossible for moths to get past and dance in the lights. However, when choosing a screen, pick one with tight holes. Otherwise, insects will slip through the gaps.
Although this method is expensive, it is inarguably the most effective. Professionals can install them for a couple of hundred dollars.
But if you are good with your hands, you can fit these screens and save some bucks.
9. Use a Bug Zapper
A bug zapper is another effective way to drive moths away from your outside lights. Bug zappers release a bluish glow that insects, including moths, love and have an electric wire mesh covering the light.
It attracts moths with its UV-A light and electrocutes them with the electric mesh. This battle-tested strategy effectively redirects bugs from one location to another.
Setting a bug zapper up on the porch or backyard can draw moths and take them far from the lights. For the best effect, hang the bug zapper a few feet away from the outdoor lights.
However, this gadget has its downsides. For one, whenever the zapper attracts a bug, it makes a loud sound. Also, when bugs are electrocuted, the zapper leaves a burning smell.
After this, you are left with a heap of dead moths and insects on the ground and in the zapper. This means you will have to clean out the bug zapper once in a while.
However, some people prefer silence while meditating on their porches. The sounds of zapping electricity and the smell of burnt bugs may make this technique less appealing.
If you fall into this category, you are better off with a different moth-repelling strategy.
10. Use Spice Pouches
Another excellent way to fight off unwanted moth friends is by hanging up pouches of strong-smelling spices. There are many herbs and spices that insects do not like.
These include citrus zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, catnip, and thyme. Get these spices together and tie them in cloth bundles or pouches.
To create a spice pouch, cut strips of cloth in squares and spread them on a flat surface. Get cotton balls and dip them into any essential oil of your choice.
Or, place fresh herbs or spices in the middle of the cloth. Pull each side to the center and secure it with a string.
Then, hang them up using hooks on your outdoor lights and other fixtures like potted plants and rafters. After a few days, these pouches may lose their strong scent.
Bring them down and replace them with a fresh batch. Any moth that catches a whiff of these smells will think twice about disturbing the lights.
11. Install a Ceiling Fan on Your Porch
Depending on the kind of porch you have, an outdoor ceiling fan may help with your moth problem. This technique works best with a wrap-around-styled porch that has an overhang.
Ceiling fans here will introduce gusts of air into your porch and blow any lingering moths away. It will also help regulate the air around the porch, especially on hot summer nights.
Although installing outdoor ceiling fans is expensive, they are worth the sacrifice.
Apart from dispelling bugs, they can blow away the things attracting them to your lights in the first place. These can include bad smells, carbon dioxide, and food spoils.
12. Hang Up a Bird or Bat House Outside
Birds and bats feed on insects, and hanging up a bird or bat house can help fix the infestation problem. Inviting these natural predators to your house allows nature to take its course.
Hang the birdhouse on a nearby tree, or set it up near your porch. Then, place some fruit or seeds to attract birds.
However, create a bit of distance between the birdhouse and your porch. The birds do not interpret it as an invitation into your home. You don’t want to start dealing with another pest infestation from birds.
13. Set a DIY Moth Trap
You can place traps under your outdoor lights to trap and get rid of moths. Thankfully, the process is pretty straightforward.
First, fill a bowl with water, pour some drops of detergent, and position this trap directly under the lights.
The light’s reflection on the water will attract flying moths. These moths will then fall into the water trap and drown – that solves the problem!
Turn off all outdoor lights except the one with a trap underneath for faster results.
Nobody wants to open their door to meet a swarm of insects flying around the outdoor lights. But, the warm glow of these outdoor lights has a magnetic effect on moths.
Fortunately, there are reliable techniques you can try to stop these insects from hanging around your lights. These include changing your outdoor lights, setting makeshift traps, and planting moth-repellant plants.
Other moth-deterring methods involve using spice pouches and a bug zapper, installing a screen on the porch, and hanging a bird or bat house outside the house.
For better results, you may have to combine different strategies. Look through the abovementioned options and choose what works best for you. Deploy your chosen methods and watch moths stop coming around your outdoor light.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Eliminating Caterpillars Reduce Moth Populations?
Moth eggs develop into caterpillars before growing into full-blown moths. So, removing caterpillars from your house can help fix the moth problem before it forms. You can pick them out of their habitat or use pesticides to kill them.
Why Do Moths Stay Around Light?
Moths have light sensors in their eyes that adjust to the amount of light they encounter. Human eyes may see darkness for a few seconds when they encounter bright lights.
But for insects like moths, the duration is longer because their bodies take time to adjust. This makes them hover around lights for a long time, as they cannot see their way out.